Copycat Banana Up&Go

My kids went through a phase of loving the liquid breakfast items, UP&GO. With time, I’ve managed to wean them off it and find another version that they like. Here is my recipe – plus some tips for storing up bananas that are going a bit funky.

Snack foods and kids

I’ll put it out there: we eat way too many processed foods in our household, especially treat and snack foods. We probably eat less processed foods than an average household (what is average anyway), but we still eat too much.

I accept that I can’t totally deprive my kids of processed foods. If I make them ‘bad’, when they are adults they will just go and binge. I do, however, try to limit what we buy and consume. It’s much easier to go shopping without my kids. But when we do go shopping together, a certain amount of snack foods will find their way into the trolly. I term this a ‘tax’ of going shopping with them. We joke about taxes and also joke that we are going to limit the number of them in the trolley. So they will get some, but not all.

I don’t have a vendetta against UP&GO. They have their place, and I’ve bought a carton in bulk from Costco before when it was an unavoidable ‘tax’. We still buy them occasionally as a treat. They are better than soft drinks or the super sweet juices that are marketed to kids – actually, they’re a lot better than a lot of alternatives. But I do like to avoid buying things like this if only for the environmental aspect: even when recycled, it’s good to do without packaging.

Better bananas

I never throw out bananas. Well, hardly ever. They’re a favourite of my kids in school lunches in non-COVID times. Unfortunately, they often turn back at home a bit brown and funky (or slightly squished).

Rather than throw them out, unless I’m going to bake a banana cake or something, I freeze them. And when I say freeze them, I mean I throw the whole banana into the freezer. Yep, that’s right: I don’t cut it up, process it, put it in a plastic bag or do anything. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to rescuing bananas.

A whole banana with its skin on will last several weeks in the freezer. It will begin to shrivel if you leave it for months (over a year and you will probably need to throw it out), but it’s fine for weeks. An advantage of frozen bananas is that they make the best smoothies – icy cold and perfect for this recipe.

To use the frozen bananas in cooking, I cut them into pieces, slice off the skin and then either use them frozen (e.g. in a blender or thermocooker), or microwave for up to 30 seconds (which makes them go really mushy and perfect for baking a cake.

You can eat the skin – it’s perfectly fine – but my kids are fussy eaters so we don’t. You can also bury the skins in soil, or add water to them to make a type of banana skin tea. It is a great fertilizer, especially for cropping plants such as tomatoes.

Frozen banana and Weetbix smoothie

This is a great recipe to make during lockdown, especially if you have frozen bananas all ready to use up. I know fresh fruit and vegies are important, but frozen is also healthy. This recipe uses full cream milk powder, which is also a great staple during lockdown. You can substitute skim, or use one cup of another type of milk (e.g. oat milk).

Ingredients

1 frozen banana, cut into pieces
1/3 cup full cream milk powder
1 cup water
A handful of leftover Weetbix crumbs (e.g. the type your find at the bottom of your packet)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Method

  1. Place the cut up bananas into the bowl of a blender or thermocooker. Add the other ingredients.
  2. Blend for around two and a half minutes.
  3. Pour into a glass, drink and enjoy. (Note: this makes one large glass and a bit – probably close to twice the quantity of an UP&GO.)

Cost

Milk powder, 1/3 cup$0.25
Banana – leftover, free0
Weetbix – leftover, free0
Vanilla (optional)$0.12
Total cost$0.37

In comparison, a three-pack UP&GO from Woolworths (when not on sale) costs $4.95 or $1.65.

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