You’ll have the most colorful breakfast around when you make these banana split fruit and yogurt bowls. Protein-packed Greek yogurt and heaps of phytonutrient-rich fruit stand-in for the ice cream in this dish. Then everything gets drizzled with a little creamy peanut butter and topped with toasted coconut. Kids love this fun presentation of a classic fruit and yogurt parfait!
I’ve said this before, but including lots of fruit in my diet has been very helpful in my healthy weight management. Most fruits, especially berries and melons, provide a lot of volume for very few calories. They are sweet and delicious, and their bright colors make meals beautiful.
I mean, look at my photos of the banana split fruit and yogurt bowls on this page. What a rainbow! I’m no professional photographer, but when you include fruit, the dishes practically photograph themselves.
Though eating a lot of fruit is definitely a good move for me, I’m going to say up front that it might not be what is best for you. If you are on a low (or lower) carb diet because it helps you with blood sugar control, this recipe is probably not going to be your best option.
As I mentioned in my post on how to make lard, we’re all different. Some use dietary restrictions to help manage medical conditions. There are actually very few solid “rules” about what constitutes a healthy diet that would fit everyone to a T.
The focus here is to share recipes for delicious, nutrient-rich, and satiating food that may help you maintain a healthy weight (or lose fat). The word “healthy” tends to be used in that context here. However, some have other goals (for example, muscle building or eating disorder recovery) where “healthy” might look a bit different.
Are there any “rules” about healthy diets that fit everyone?
I showcase delicious meals of whole foods here, but I tend to refrain from providing much in the way of specific nutrition tips. This is because general nutrition advice is typically woefully inadequate and is often riddled with bias.
I could recommend that you eat more raw broccoli because it is “healthy.” I like crisp, raw broccoli, and many are not meeting the recommendations for vegetables.
However, what if you’re currently eating so much broccoli it is displacing foods with other essential nutrients? What if you are on a low-fiber diet as a medical nutrition therapy? There are almost always situations where my recommendation regarding what is “healthy” no longer stands.
That said, there are a few “rules” regarding healthy diets that do fit almost everyone. Unfortunately, these tend to be missed in the quibbles over whether X food or Y food is “healthiest.” I’m going to talk basic nutrition requirements here, though the social/emotional aspects of eating should not be dismissed:
1. On average, aim to consume adequate (but not excessive) calories to meet your health goals.
This does not mean you must track calories. However, it’s good to be aware that both under- and overeating on a regular basis can lead to negative health consequences. If your typical food pattern leads to consistent under- or overeating, you may want to make some shifts.
In the recipe notes here, I usually provide information on how to increase or decrease the energy (calories) of the dish. You can use this information (along with personal preferences, satiety from specific foods, etc.) to modify the recipe to better fit you. (Or you can ignore the recipe notes entirely, that’s ultimately your business.)
Since I tend to talk weight loss here, I want to add an extra word on undereating. If you are aiming for fat loss, extremely low-calorie diets (<1200 calories/day women, <1500 calories/day men) are not recommended without medical supervision. Very low-calorie diets may put you at higher risk for essential nutrient deficiencies, which brings me to my next point.
2. Eat a wide enough variety of nutrient-rich foods to meet your essential needs for vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and protein.
There is little that is set in stone in the field of nutrition science. However, something we have a pretty firm grasp on is that there are certain nutrients that our bodies cannot make (or cannot make enough of) but that we need for life. We need to get these essential nutrients through our foods (or through supplements) in order to remain healthy.
Getting the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or Adequate Intake (AI) for a nutrient will meet the needs of most healthy people. Special diets that restrict nutrient-rich foods put you at higher risk for deficiencies of certain essential nutrients. At the bare minimum, it is critical to ensure your essential nutrient needs are being met.
There are a lot of individuals who need to restrict certain foods as part of their nutrition therapy to help ameliorate a medical condition. If you are concerned your diet may not be adequate, it’s a great idea to check in with a registered dietitian. We can make suggestions to help ensure you are following your nutrition therapy while also meeting your nutrient needs.
A word of caution, though. It is possible to get too much of a good thing. There are Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) for some nutrients. Regularly consuming a nutrient beyond the UL may lead to adverse effects. This leads me to my final point…
3. When possible, prioritize getting your nutrient needs met with foods rather than supplements.
It is far easier to exceed the UL for a nutrient when using supplements or fortified foods versus consuming whole foods. Choose foods first to meet your nutrient needs and supplements when you cannot get what you need through food.
There are very few natural food sources of vitamin D. Since I live in a northern latitude with not a lot of sun exposure in winter, I choose to supplement with vitamin D. This has helped me to maintain adequate vitamin D levels, an issue I had previously struggled with.
Some may need to supplement with other nutrients to be healthy. Getting your essential nutrient needs met is critical. Supplements, as well as enriched and fortified foods, can get you there when whole foods can’t.
It’s a good idea to consult with your physician when adding a supplement. Some supplements interact with medications. Providing your physician with information on supplements you use allows them to better coordinate your care.
Finally, be wary of alternative health practitioners prescribing supplements. They may not have adequate nutrition training.
For example, I am aware of an alternative practitioner who recommends vitamin C supplements above the UL for “general health.” They claim the GI disturbance resulting from the excessive dose is the body ridding itself of toxins.
However, GI disturbance is a common complaint from excessive vitamin C intake. This is due to the osmotic effect of unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract (thus throwing your supplement money down the drain). Unfortunately, the “toxin” the body is ridding itself of in this case is the supplement.
I’d say it’s a much more enjoyable experience to get your vitamin C by eating fruits and veggies! How about we start with this banana split fruit and yogurt bowl?
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Banana Split Fruit and Yogurt Bowls
- 1 medium banana, split lengthwise
- ¾ cup plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt (non-fat; if you're accustomed to sweetened yogurt you'll probably prefer using those)
- ¼ cup strawberries, diced (¼-½ inch/0.64-1.27 cm pieces; about 2 berries)
- ¼ cup mandarin orange, peeled and chopped (fresh or from a drained can)
- ¼ cup mango, peeled and chopped (¼-½ inch/0.64-1.27 cm pieces)
- 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped (¼-½ inch/0.64-1.27 cm pieces)
- 3 tablespoons blueberries
- ¼ cup blackberries (about 5 berries)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut, toasted
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- Put the split banana in a bowl. Top with the yogurt.
- Whisk the water and creamy peanut butter together. You can add more (or less) water if desired to get a good consistency for drizzling.
- Drizzle a little of the peanut butter mixture on top of the yogurt. Pile on all of the fruits. (I hope you used a big enough bowl!)
- Drizzle the rest of the peanut butter mixture on top of the fruits. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
- Admire the beautiful breakfast you made and enjoy!
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). I highly recommend using plain Greek yogurt or skyr here, as they have more protein than regular yogurt. You can lighten this dish up more by cutting back on the fruit. I recently made another version of this using ¾ cup (total) of strawberries for the fruit topping that was still pretty good. I also experimented with making a drizzle with peanut flour instead of regular old peanut butter (pictured above). Unfortunately, though it was lower in calories, I did not feel it passed the taste test. IMVHO I’d just stick with regular peanut butter for this one. It looks better drizzled on the dish as well.
What are some of your favorite fruits that are coming into season? If you are a fruit fan, I promise that you’ll love this banana split fruit and yogurt bowl! I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it.