Paleo Banana Snickerdoodles
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
If you’ve been following the Paleo diet trend, you’ve probably come across recipes that incorporate bananas into various baked goods. Recently, I decided to conduct a little experiment and research to determine whether bananas, which are often viewed skeptically due to their perceived high sugar content, are worth the hype. First, let’s look at their glycemic rating, then we’ll delve into some interesting facts about bananas, explore their nutritional value, and finally serve up a recipe that allows you to go bananas…
Glycemic ratings of alternative sweeteners for baking
The Glycemic Index of a ripe banana = 52
The Glycemic Index of an unripe banana = 30
The Glycemic Load of a ripe banana = 12.4
The Glycemic Load of an unripe banana = 7.2
The Glycemic Load of raw honey = 14
The Glycemic Load of an apple = 11.4
The Glycemic Load of agave (not a fan) = 9.6
The Glycemic Load of coconut sugar = 1
Based on the glycemic rating above, is a banana so bad if it’s replacing refined sugar in a sweet treat? As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, I’d say it depends. (Full Body Systems students and grads know well that this is the only truly functional answer to almost every question!) The only way to know if a banana is a good sweetener replacement for you, is to try it and see how it feels on your body. Note: For those managing blood sugar on the regular, there are few instances where I’d recommend eating a banana straight up. What we’re mostly talking about here are bananas combined with other foods and dietary agents that help put the brakes on the potential glycemic spike. Those mitigating agents include fats, fibers, and proteins, as you might find in your green smoothie or in a baked-good combined with coconut, garbanzo, or nut flour.
Functional Nutrition: The value of a banana
Bananas, though starchy and sweet, do come with a host of nutritional benefits. Here are just a few to consider:
- They’re a great source of potassium, making them good for the heart, a nice way to replete lost electrolytes after a hard workout (think green smoothie with protein powder and frozen banana or Paleo Banana Snickerdoodles packed with the protein that will help you maximize your power to build muscle and lose fat), and a powerful aid in combating the depletion that can come with a bout of diarrhea.
- Bananas can help build the mucous lining in the stomach to protect against ulcers. Ultimately a thick stomach lining is important for the utilization of key nutrients like iron and B12.
- The fiber contained in bananas, which helps to slow the delivery of sugars, is a soluble fiber called pectin that aids in good solid elimination.
Now I promise I’m not recommending you go bananas with your bananas. I’m inviting you into a sweet experiment with a deeper understanding of your blood sugar balance (remember: it’s a Non-Negotiable!) and an eye out for your own body’s reaction.
Paleo Banana Snickerdoodles
These Paleo Banana Snickerdoodles are a simple, satisfying, not-too-sweet treat that can help curb your cravings without sending your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride. I won’t pretend they’ll abolish your cravings completely (unless you’re already refined sugar-free like me!), but get out your food processor and give them a whirl if you’re curious.
Yield about 10 small cookies.
- 1 banana (not green but not too ripe; yellow with no brown spots)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon + any or all of the following
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- food processor (I use my mini)
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the banana and break it into pieces before placing it into the food processor. Process to bring it to a paste.
- Add baking powder and pulse once more. Add almond flour and process to create a sticky “dough”.
- Meanwhile, combine the spices in a small, shallow bowl.
- Using a rounded tablespoon, scoop the dough out from the processor and drop into the spice mixture. This will be sticky business! No need to roll the ball around as it will decrease the sweetness of the morsel, but allow it to touch part of the surface, then place the sticky dough on your parchment. Repeat until dough is gone.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
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