I hear it’s sweltering in the Bay Area right now– while I am at a conference in Boston, where it’s unseasonably cool, with San Francisco-style weather. Oh well. For those of you back home, here’s a quick treat to cool you down.
Have you made “nice cream,” or banana soft serve? This is a great swap for ice-cream lovers who want to watch their intake of sugar, fat and calories. It’s the food prescription I offer patients who say they want a substitute for ice cream. All you need is a frozen, ripe banana and a food processor or blender. You can add in other flavors as desired.
This recipe brings in the flavor of matcha. Have you caught onto the matcha craze? This finely milled green tea powder, which until recently was available mainly in Japan, is the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were developed in the 12th century. Matcha has recently become a common ingredient in coffee and tea shops, in the form of matcha or green tea lattes.
The practice of milling tea leaves into a fine powder and then whisking in water originated in China around the 10th century, but the best matcha comes from Japan. Tea leaves grown for producing matcha are shaded from direct light 20 days prior to harvest to boost chlorophyll levels. This produces darker, more vibrant green leaves, and also increases the production of L-theanine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant. L-theanine has both calming and stimulating properties. All green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which are thought to have anti-cancer properties. Because matcha is finely milled, it has higher concentrations of these antioxidants than regular green tea.
Matcha Nice Cream
1 cup frozen banana slices (1 very ripe large banana, sliced)
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
Add ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until light and creamy. Serve immediately.
Alternatives: Other mix-in options include 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, cinnamon or ginger, frozen blueberries, nuts and dark chocolate shavings.
Nutrition Information (per serving)
Fat: 0 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Sodium: 1 mg
Potassium: 487 mg
Sugar: 16.6 g (0 added)
Fiber 3.5 g
While the amount of natural occurring sugar seems high, remember that there are no added sugars in this sweet treat. If you can eat a banana, you can enjoy this frozen treat!
Are you looking for recipes to beat the heat? Interested in learning recipes from other parts of the world? Sign up now for the next class of the Thrive Kitchen, 7/25 Spanish Summer: Gazpacho and Tapas. Register before it sells out! SFHealthEd@kp.org or 415-833-3450, $30 Kaiser Permanente Members/$40 General. And no matter where you live, you’re invited to join our healthy eating community at www.Facebook.com/TheDoctorsSpicebox. To your health!