Going Bananas? Here’s A Way To Use Them

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - June 02, 2010
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By now, most of us are aware that when it comes to health, there is an undeniable link between mind and body. A healthy work-place is no different. That’s why the Hawaii Psychological Association sponsors the annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. The goal of the statewide honor is to promote psychological health in the workplace and to recognize excellence.

Don Kopf, Ph.D., awards committee chairman, says the link between worker satisfaction with the work environment and increased productivity is clear: More than 60 percent of workplace absences are related to psychological problems, and more than 90 percent of all accidents are caused by personal and stress-related problems.

Co-chairman Dr. Jeffrey Stern adds, “It is one of our goals to recognize and promote safe, secure and healthy workplaces by establishing objective criteria based on sound research and recognizing great companies to work for in Hawaii.”


 

If your organization makes the mental and physical health and safety of employees a top priority, it should apply for the award. Download your application at www.hawaiipsychology.org. There is no cost involved. Deadline to apply is July 3.

This column is dedicated to Kopf and Stern for their role in promoting the 11th annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. Here’s to your health!

I always have bananas that are too ripe and I don’t like to waste them, so banana bread is one of the favorites at my house. You also may freeze bananas and put them in the blender for smoothies or banana bread recipes.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose - which combined with fiber can give an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous hour-and-a-half workout. Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, which is said to promote relaxation, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. The banana also contains B vitamins, which help to control blood glucose levels and calm the nervous system, and potassium, a vital mineral that helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance.

EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK

BANANA BREAD

* 2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/4 cup orange-flavored (or plain) dried cranberries
* 1/4 cup golden raisins
* 1/4 cup chopped dates
* 2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
* 2/3 cup skim milk
* 2 medium-ripe yellow bananas (pureed)
* 4 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon orange extract
* 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
* 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Stir cranberries into flour mixture and set aside. In medium bowl or food processor, blend egg whites, skim milk, bananas (if using a food processor, you can cut the bananas in pieces and puree them with the egg whites and milk), canola oil and orange extract. Add wet ingredients to flour-cranberry mixture and mix until all flour is moistened. Pour into pan and sprinkle top with nuts and chocolate chips.


Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes one large loaf (about 10 slices).

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Slice:

Calories: 265
Fat: 8 grams
Cholesterol: 2 milligrams
Sodium: 140 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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