Indeed, almond butter and bananas are great on their own, but together they’re the perfect dynamic duo that offer a plethora of health perks, especially when it comes to gut- and sleep-boosting benefits. Ahead we delve into the perfect three-ingredient snack this registered dietitian makes featuring these two foods and why they’re not only beyond delicious when combined, but also a true blessing for your microbiome and your shuteye.
The perfect three-ingredient almond butter banana snack, according to an RD
As they say, less is more—and that’s definitely the case when it comes to Largeman-Roth’s favorite three-ingredient bedtime snack. “I love slicing up a medium banana and then schmearing the top of each slice with a little Justin’s Classic Almond Butter, about two tablespoons total. Then, you can sprinkle a little bit of unsweetened shredded coconut on top if you like,” Largeman-Roth says. Yes, this snack is as plain and simple as it gets. But it’s also packed with tons of nutrients for the perfect girl
dinner snack, that requires little effort yet yields high reward.
So, why is AB&B just as good as, if not better than PB&J? “This combo of nutritious ingredients provides natural sweetness and energy from the banana, plus six grams of plant protein and three grams of fiber from the almond butter,” Largeman-Roth says. For context, peanut butter contains seven grams of protein, but only 1.5 grams of fiber, per the same two-tablespoon-size serving.
The only thing to keep in mind when making a snack with such minimal ingredients is choosing your ingredients wisely. “I use Justin’s nut butters because I know that I’m getting high-quality and a mindfully-sourced product, which is a priority in our house. Not to mention the one-of-a-kind grind unique to the brand’s nut butters,” she says, which gives their products a top-quality flavor and texture.
So, what are the health benefits of eating almond butter and bananas together?
Much like PB&J, there are a few ingredients that are simply better together—macaroni and cheese or milk and cookies, for instance. But according to Largeman-Roth, pairing almond butter and bananas together is a great way to boost the health benefits of each, too—meaning these two ingredients also compliment one another from a nutritional standpoint.
“The fiber and protein in the almond butter slows the absorption of the carbohydrates in the banana for more even blood sugar levels. Additionally, almonds have the highest amount of vitamin E of any tree nut. This vitamin is important for brain health, as well as healthy vision and beautiful skin, no matter your age,” Largeman-Roth says.
To up the ante, Largeman-Roth suggests opting for slightly underripe bananas, which are rich in gut-friendly resistant starch. “Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate abundant in unripe bananas that acts like fiber. It can help you feel more satisfied for longer and it’s also beneficial for gut and heart health,” Largeman-Roth says. Resistant starches also help promote the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria, which are essential for supporting a well-balanced microbiome.
When should you consume this snack to reap the most benefits?
Now, as far as when you should consume this snack is concerned, Largeman-Roth says whenever, wherever (cue Shakira). “This snack is perfect for noshing on any time of the day, like an afterschool bite to tide over until dinner,” she says. Or, about an hour before bed which can have sleep-inducing benefits (hi, magnesium). “Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid which may help you relax, while almonds contain substantial amounts of magnesium—89 milligrams per two tablespoons—a mineral that’s involved in the sleep-wake cycle,” Largeman-Roth says. She also notes that it’s the perfect pre- or post-workout snack that can help fuel you up for a rigorous gym sesh or help kickstart muscle recovery once you’re done.
“Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid which may help you relax, while almonds contain substantial amounts of magnesium—89 milligrams per two tablespoons—a mineral that’s involved in the sleep-wake cycle,” Largeman-Roth says.
“All the ingredients are easily accessible, and, most importantly for me, this is a snack the whole family can enjoy,” Largeman-Roth says. “Both almond butter and bananas are nutritious foods with multiple benefits, plus they’re about as convenient as you can get. Neither food requires refrigeration and almond butter especially is always ready when you need it. During this busy back-to-school time, it’s important to keep ingredients on hand that help make healthy snacking easy for parents and kids,” she says. And, we’re certainly on board with that.
Of course, if shredded coconut isn’t your jam, the almond butter banana combinations are endless, like atop a slice of multigrain toast or garnished with sprinkles for a homemade banana popsicle. The choice is yours!
So… what does this mean for PB? An RD shares how it stacks up against other nut butters:
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