Ice cream is one of my most favorite things in the entire world. I devour an entire pint in one sitting more often than I care to admit. It breaks my heart that sugar isn’t good for me. I’m always looking for healthy (or healthier) alternatives so I can indulge and not feel so bad about it.
Frozen bananas can be blended to get that creamy smooth texture of ice cream. We go through a lot of bananas in our house but whenever one starts to brown, it is set aside to put in the freezer. The longer you wait, the sweeter it gets. I cut the brown bananas in half (or even smaller pieces) and put them in the freezer to use for smoothies or “desserts”.
Use whatever liquid you like when making this milkshake. I like to use homemade almond milk (raw almonds, water, Medjool dates and vanilla extract).
If you don’t have raw cacao powder, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder. In case you are unfamiliar with cacao powder, it’s packed with health benefits and has the delicious chocolate taste. Cacao has more calcium than cow’s milk, it’s filled with antioxidants (20x more than blueberries!), cacao is the best plant-based source of iron, it is one of the highest food sources of magnesium, cacao is known to elevate mood! I add it to so many things: smoothies, cookies, almond butter balls, cake, granola, brownies, oatmeal, pudding, etc!
HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BANANA SMOOTHIE
4 frozen bananas (easiest if they are chopped in pieces before freezing)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk*
1-2 Medjool dates (pre-soaked in water)
2 T almond butter
2 T raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 ice cubes
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
optional mix-in: small handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
*amount of liquid needed will vary slightly depending on banana size and preferred consistency
Instructions: Place everything except the optional cacao nibs or chocolate chips in a food processor or high-quality blender and blend until it reaches the consistency of soft-serve or milkshake. Then add in your cacao nibs/chocolate chips and pulse for another second or two. Depending on the size of your bananas, you may need to add a little more milk to get milkshake consistency. If you’d prefer ice cream, only use about 1/4 cup of almond milk (or add another frozen banana) and put the ice cream back in the freezer once blended for another half-hour or so and let it firm up.
Experiment with this one! Add toppings or flavors of your choice. Sometimes I make this in the morning, and use a little less cacao powder but add about 2 teaspoons of instant coffee… it’s like a healthy frappuccino without all the crap! Sometimes I add a pinch of cinnamon and a handful of frozen kale.
Health Benefits of Ingredients
Bananas ~ Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, which are beneficial for heart health. Potassium is also essential for kidney function. Bananas contain antioxidants, which help lower the risk of some diseases.
Almond Milk & Butter ~ Almonds are a good source of antioxidants, potassium and magnesium.
Cacao Powder ~ Cacao has at least twenty times more antioxidants than blueberries and more calcium than cow’s milk! It is one of the most magnesium-rich foods and the best plant-based source of iron. Cacao is known to elevate mood. You can use unsweetened cocoa powder if you would prefer, or if you do not have raw cacao powder. Some people notice that cacao has a slightly more bitter taste than cocoa, so it may take time to adjust. If you have not tried cacao, consider using ½ cacao and ½ cocoa. Both have health benefits, but if you want even more nutrients and antioxidants, go with the cacao. You can order it online at Amazon or Thrive Market.
Pink Himalayan Salt ~ Pink Himalayan salt is much better for you than your standard table salt. It can regulate the body’s pH and improve digestion. It is the purest form of salt. Pink Himalayan salt contains electrolytes needed for good health. To make table salt, the refining process strips away all minerals except for sodium and chloride. Table salt is bleached and treated with chemicals, and may even contain trace amounts of aluminum! Sodium is not bad for us, but too much of the refined and processed table salt can be harmful. Our bodies need sodium in an unrefined form like found in Himalayan salt.