Banana Sweetened Iced Cap

Its that time of year again here in Alberta, when you can start peeling off the layers, you don’t have to scrape your car windshield at -30, and your piping hot coffee every morning doesn’t seem as appealing. Blended coffee drink season is here! If you are anything like me your plain black coffee becomes a cup loaded with cream, ice and sugar… like a lot of sugar!

There is 62 grams of sugar in 1 large Time Hortons Iced Capp, that is 6 tablespoons! If star bucks is more your thing, 1 Venti Coffee Frappuccino gives you 69 grams, or 6.5 tablespoons of sugar. Shocking right? Seeing as how type 2 diabetes has become so prominent, our sugar intake is something that we should be aware of. The heart and stroke foundation recommends that the average adult consumes no more than 50 grams of added sugar (like the stuff you put in your coffee) per day. So just one of those delicious coffee beverages blows your added sugar intake for the day out of the water! Don’t get me wrong, treat yourself every once in a while, I sure do, just not every day!

This got me thinking, there has to be something that is equally delicious, but has less sugar. This is where the power of the frozen banana comes to play! 1 large banana is a lowly 15 grams of NATURAL sugar, that’s it! Natural sugar acts differently in your body, and is not included in the recommended intake amount. That is pretty much nothing compared to the sixty some in those bought drinks. Plus a banana has a whole bunch of wonderful nutrients like potassium and fiber which are both great for your health! So I came up with my own home made banana-mocha iced cappuccino, and it is every bit as delicious as a bought one. The biggest bonus: it can be enjoyed every day without taking a toll on your health!

All you need is a one frozen banana (slightly over-ripe is best because it will be sweeter), 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp instant coffee granules, and about 6 ice cubes, and 1 cup of milk of your choice.

If you like an even stronger coffee buzz, freeze any leftover coffee that you have in an ice cube try and use that instead of regular ice cubes.

Now to assemble your iced cappuccino. First put your ice cubes, or frozen coffee cubes into a blender cup. I use my Nutri-Ninja blender, which I love, but a regular blender will work just fine. Then add in one tablespoon of instant coffee granules, 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, and then the sliced frozen banana on top.

Bananas don’t freeze that solid, so you should easily be able to chop it into slices, and add it into your blender cup. You can always chop it before you freeze it if you find it too difficult to cut when it is frozen.

Next, add in your milk, I like to use unsweetened almond milk. But any milk will do. Depending on how thick you like your drink will depend on how much you add. I like a thicker, almost shake-like beverage, so I only add milk half way up the cup. It doesn’t melt as fast on those scorching hot days! But you can adjust that yourself to suit your preference.

Now blend it all together for your perfect summer coffee creation!

Take it to go…

…or enjoy it at home!

Not only will your body thank you for not over loading it with added sugar, but your wallet will also be smiling because of the money that you will be saving at the drive-thru!

To ensure that you always have the ingredients on hand when a coffee craving strikes you, just peel all of your over ripe bananas, toss them in a zip-lock bag and into the freezer. Lets be real were you actually going to get around to make banana loaf with them anyway?

My Nutrition Journey

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I myself have gone through a long hard struggle with my relationship with food, that began in high school. Just like many of you, high school is a difficult time where you are trying to fit in and make sense of all of the changes that your body is going through. Even for the strongest teens with the greatest support, it can be extremely hard to feel OK in your own skin at this time, never mind love your body! This is where dieting, and diet culture seems to come in and offer the cure for all of your insecurities. It promises to make you beautiful, popular and loved. I am here to tell you that dieting fails at every single one of those things! It makes you more insecure, and you become obsessed about calories, carbs, dairy, gluten, sugar, and every ounce of food you have or have not eaten. This leaves no room for fun, friends, family or quality time with yourself! This is NOT how life is meant to be lived, especially in your teen years, which should be fun and care free! Trust me there is enough things to worry about as an adult, high school and all of its drama should not be one of them!

Unhealthy food relationships and disordered eating have sadly become a normal part of many young women’s lives. Many carry this on with them into their marriage and adult lives. They try all of the latest fad diets, failing at every one of them, and with each failed attempt, deepening the hate and mistrust that they have for their body. For me it was just trying to make sense of all of the negative body talk, and “food facts” that flow around us all day long. How are we supposed to know what to eat, when every month they are telling us something different? What is actually good for our bodies, and what should we do to feel our best? I have tried cutting carbs, counting calories, cutting dairy, vegetarian, vegan, detoxes, juicing, eating at certain times of the day, and the list goes on. But Guess what? None of them made me feel better, maybe at first I could trick myself into believing that it was making me feel better, but it didn’t last.

Then there is the time factor. How do you juggle, working full time, having a social life, having time for yourself, taking care of things at home AND taking the time to prepare and eat a nutritious diet? It took me years to find the balance that I have now, and it is still work in progress. The number one thing that I have found is PLANNING. This is huge! I set aside 1 day that I can plan the meals for the coming week, get the groceries that I need, and then meal prep. For me this came gradually, starting with planning only 1 day a head. This meant that I knew the night before what I was going to make for dinner, and then grew from there. Planning meant that at the end of the day when I was tired and hungry there was something ready to go for dinner, that wasn’t pizza, take-out or ice-cream. Which were all things that at one point been frequent dinner options for me. I found that planning meant less stress for me, and saved money on impulse food costs. I started to really enjoy experimenting with recipes and learning how to efficiently prepare dishes ahead of time so that they could just be popped in the oven or slow-cooker that day and cook while I did other things. There were definitely some failed suppers, but that just meant finding ways to make it work for the next time.

Meal planning had become a regular part of my life, I looked forward to this day and enjoyed it. I had really found a love for cooking, this shocked my family. How could this horse crazy girl, that didn’t even take time to eat before now love cooking? But I did! I loved the challenge of making something tasty from what was in the fridge and changing recipes to suit my preferences. This got me looking into the function of food, and how it works in our bodies. After years of believing whatever I heard on the media about our diets, I was tired of guessing. I knew going back to school was the way to take the guess work out of it and learn the facts. Elevated Learning Academy was awesome, so many of the myths that I had once believed were “debunked” and I learned a healthful way to nourish my body to feel my best. After experiencing it all first hand, I have developed a passion to help others that are struggling. Change is hard, especially habits that have been ingrained in you for years But small changes are the way to go. I have learned that every day is a new opportunity to grow and take small steps towards a better, happier, healthier you!