Two years ago, Japanese supermarkets couldn’t keep bananas on the shelves after a man revealed the secret of his weight-loss success on a leading social network. Now a healthier version of his diet is catching on in America, thanks to the fruit and nutrition experts at Dole.
The Go Bananas 2-A-Day Challenge was originally created in 2009 by the Dole Nutrition Institute as a healthier sequel to Japan’s phenomenally popular Morning Banana Diet.
Dole’s expanded version for 2011 is part of larger multimedia initiative created by Dole Fresh Fruit for Americans looking for a healthy way to kick off the New Year. The Go Bananas Challenge substitutes well-balanced meals and nutritious recipes instead of the “all-you-can-eat” approach popular in Japan.
Going beyond the original two-banana morning routine, Dole nutritionists created a comprehensive two-week regiment of lunches, dinners and snacks to help participants boost their energy, increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, and improve their overall health while they lose weight.
“We know that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in general, and bananas in particular, can help support healthy, sustainable weight loss,” said Nicholas Gillett, Ph.D., of the Dole Nutrition Institute. “What we did at Dole was expand this simple principle into a well-balanced, two-week plan that can serve as the basis for a long-term healthy lifestyle.”
Go Bananas 2-A-Day Challenge participants begin each day with two bananas and at least eight ounces of water, a combination that specifically aids in weight loss.
According to Gillett, banana fiber creates extra bulk in the stomach, allowing participants to feel full longer — and less hungry overall. He says the fiber acts like an internal accelerator that pulls some of the fat in the stomach through the digestive system before it can be absorbed.
The Go Bananas Challenge follows the morning banana routine with a medley of 14 lunch and dinner recipes that combine lean chicken or fish with fresh Dole® fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheeses, wheat pasta, long-grain rice and salads.
While participants can choose among fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts for their daily afternoon snack, sugar-based desserts and alcohol are strictly off-limits. The plan also advocates that followers drink water only with every meal, finish eating by 8 p.m. each day and go to bed by midnight.
“Of course, those taking the Go Bananas 2-A-Day Challenge also benefit from the banana’s status as a superfood. It doubles as an excellent source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C,” added Gillett.
Special dishes included in the plan range from Curried Spinach Soup and Warm Thai-style Scallop and Mango Salad to Spinach and Chicken Stir Fry with Raspberries and Honey Mustard-glazed Salmon with Fruit Salsa.
For more information on the Dole Banana Diet, or Dole Bananas in general, including recipes, serving suggestions and nutritional information, go to www.dole.com/bananas. You can also follow Dole Bananas on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DOLEbananas.
Two popular recipes, Caribbean Black Bean and Fruit Salad and Pineapple Salsa Chicken, are featured in the sample meal plan. Remember that at least 8 ounces of water should accompany each meal.
Sample of a Day’s Menu
2 Dole Bananas and 8 ounces of water
5 slices Dole Pineapple (3-1/2 inches in diameter x 3/4 inches thick)
Caribbean Black Bean and Fruit Salad
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 tablespoons prepared salsa
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1 large Dole Banana, sliced
1 Dole Orange, peeled and sliced
Combine beans, salsa, cilantro, onion, orange peel, lime juice and cumin in large bowl. Spoon onto lettuce-lined platter. Sprinkle cheese on top of salad, if desired. Arrange banana and orange slices alongside of salad. Squeeze additional lime juice over bananas.
1/4 cup almonds
Pineapple Salsa Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chunked, fresh Dole Tropical Gold Pineapple*
1/4 cup Dole Pineapple juice
1/2 cup finely chopped Dole Red Bell Peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped Dole Green Bell Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Dole Green Onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chilies
Grill or broil chicken 5 to 10 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Combine pineapple chunks, juice, bell pepper, onions, cilantro and chilies in bowl. Serve salsa with grilled or broiled chicken.
*May substitute 1 can (20 ounces) Dole Pineapple, chunked, drained.
Courtesy of Family Features