How to Make a Healthy Banana Split

You can make a healthy banana split by swapping out a few ingredients and controlling your portion sizes. Use a small scoop of low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or Greek-style yogurt instead giant scoops of regular ice cream. Swap unhealthy toppings out for nutritious options, like dried or fresh fruit and nuts. Try making interesting variations on the traditional banana split, like a healthy banana split parfait or fun frozen banana split bites.

Making a Healthy Traditional Banana Split

  1. Control your portion sizes. The first step to turning a banana split into a healthy snack is to use smaller portions. Instead of piling on three or four giant scoops of ice cream, limit yourself to a small scoop of lower-fat options. Use parfait glasses or mason jars instead of big bowls to help you keep your portion sizes in check.
  2. Swap ice cream with yogurt or frozen yogurt. For the healthiest option, use low-fat Greek style yogurt or whole milk yogurt. These offer more nutrients and less fat than ice cream, and contain healthy probiotics. Their thick and creamy textures are great substitutes for ice cream, so you won’t be missing out on richness.
    • You can also substitute ice cream with a low-fat or high-protein brand, or use low-fat frozen yogurt.
  3. Go for fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and other healthy toppings. Drowning your banana split in whipped cream, butterscotch, chocolate syrup, and other not so healthy toppings will send your calorie count soaring. Instead, you can splurge with a small amount of melted dark chocolate, and use nutritious, low-calorie fruits and nuts.
    • Try sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, or a tablespoon of peanut butter.
    • Top your split with raisins, blueberries, diced pineapple, or sliced strawberries.
  4. Turn your healthy banana split into a fun activity. A healthy banana split can be a fun, interactive activity for your kids, whether for dessert or an afterschool snack. Put out bowls of each topping, and try letting your younger kids serve themselves to practice using utensils and taking turns.
    • If you’re an adult making a healthy snack for yourself, layering your banana split in a parfait glass or mason jar will add a touch of refinement to your dessert. In addition to keeping your portions in check, you’ll feel a little more fun and fancy.
  5. Put together a beautiful banana split. Cut a banana in half then slice each half lengthwise, so you have four long slices. Place them at the bottom of a bowl or jar, and add a scoop of yogurt, frozen yogurt, or low-fat ice cream. Top it with sliced strawberries, fresh blueberries, diced pineapple, or chopped nuts.
    • You might be cutting down on calories, but there's no need to deprive yourself of a gorgeous, simple dessert!

Preparing Banana Split Parfaits

  1. Melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave it for 30 seconds, then give it a stir. Continue to microwave it in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth and pourable.
    • You can also melt the chocolate over low heat on the stovetop if you don’t want to use the microwave.
  2. Toss the banana slices with the walnuts. Place the bananas and about 3/4 of the walnuts in a medium-sized bowl. Mix them together with your clean hands or rubber spatula. You can use a metal spoon, but be careful not to break the bananas.
    • Your bananas should be about 1/4 inch (or about 1/2 centimeter) in thickness.
  3. Assemble your parfaits in layers. Grab four small bowls or parfait glasses. First, place 1/4 cup (60 mL) of pineapple at the bottom of each bowl. Then divide the walnut-coated bananas evenly between them. Top each with a scoop of strawberry ice cream, drizzle with melted chocolate, and top with the rest of the walnuts and a cherry.
    • You can substitute the strawberry ice cream with a low-fat variety, high protein ice cream, or frozen yogurt for healthier options.

Creating Healthy Banana Split Bites

  1. Assemble the fruit onto popsicle sticks. Make stacks with one piece each of cut pineapple, banana, and strawberry. Press a popsicle stick through each stack. Place the fruit popsicles in an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze them for one or two hours, or until they’re solid.
    • For best results, use a banana that’s slightly unripe or just turning ripe. Your bites will eventually turn out mushy if your fruit, especially the banana, is too ripe.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Place the coconut oil and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. If you prefer to use a stovetop, heat the chocolate and oil over low heat and stir constantly.
    • Start melting the chocolate when the fruit becomes solid. Remove the chocolate from heat once it’s melted.
  3. Dip the fruit popsicles in the chocolate. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, so you’ll have somewhere to put your chocolate-dipped popsicles. Dip one side of each fruit stack into the melted chocolate, then let the excess drip. If you’re using chopped nuts or shredded coconut, immediately dip the chocolate-covered fruit popsicle into a bowl of the nut topping.
    • After dipping, place each popsicle onto the parchment paper and let them rest until the chocolate hardens.
  4. Freeze your banana split bites overnight. After the chocolate is completely hard, transfer the bites into an airtight container or freezer bag. Place them in the freezer overnight, and store them there until you’re ready to serve.
    • If you pack a lunch with them or want to serve them at an outing, it’s a good idea to transport them with an ice pack to prevent a melted chocolate mess.

Ingredients

Traditional Banana Split

  • 1 banana
  • A scoop of low-fat Greek style yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Dried or fresh fruit, like raisins, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, or blueberries
  • Chopped or sliced nuts, like walnuts or almonds

Healthy Banana Split Parfaits

  • 2 ounces (57 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 medium bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (240 mL) pineapple, diced
  • 4 scoops of strawberry ice cream, about 1/4 cup (60 mL) each
  • 4 cherries, pitted

Banana Split Bites

  • 12 pineapple chunks
  • 1 banana cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 medium strawberries, cut in half
  • 2.5 ounces (71 grams) dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Chopped nuts or shredded coconut (optional)
  • 12 popsicle sticks

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen knife
  • 12 Popsicle sticks
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Airtight container or freezer bag
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