Last week I was thrilled to attend Dole's first ever Banana Summit, held in Anaheim California at Disney's California Adventure Resort.
The "Banana Summit" is pretty much just what it sounds like. An entire event held to celebrate this glorious, wonderful, delicious, versatile, healthy, inexpensive, wonder food: the banana. And since bananas are one of my favorite foods, I was eager to start celebrating.
Banana Inspired. Don't miss my grilled banana Maui Bagels recipe, inspired by the event!
My Banana Summit wrap-up ahead..
Although, we only spent a short time in the park, the event was held at the always happiness-inducing location of Disneyland. Cue the big child-like grin spreading across my face.
Why Disney? Well one reason: the famous Enchanted Tiki Room inside the Magic Kingdom is sponsored by Dole! Pineapple-flavored "Dole Whip" is all the rage. They need to make a vegan version of that stuff so I can try it.
First, a few photos..
It was a beautiful day for a Dole Banana Summit! (This was before it rained)..
These HAD to be DISNEY-made clouds over the hotel, yes?
Instagram-ing the event..
A few of the other bloggers, I love these talented ladies! Not even the drizzly weather could ruin the banana love-fest..
Inspiring banana fun. We even played banana Jeopardy :)
Yes, this was a pro-wellness event! PILATES, happened. Outside by a big roaring fireplace and cool breeze...
Banana Chatter. My favorite part of any Dole summit is all the nutrition chatter that goes on, as well as the sharing of ideas for new recipes (in this case, banana recipes!)
Takeaway BANANA BUZZ from the event:
* Eat More Bananas. As always, bananas are incredibly healthy for you. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin C. And eating more bananas may even help you maintain or lose weight since they fill you up. One man in Osaka Japan actually lost 38 lbs on a "2 bananas a day" diet. He would start his day by drinking plenty of water and eating two bananas. His impressive weight loss is most likely attributed the fact that eating more GOOD stuff (like fiber-rich bananas) means you are much less likely to fill up on BAD stuff. Pretty neat case study!
* Bananas After Dark. Bananas can be consumed not only in the morning hours, but at night time as well. Dole launched their "Bananas After Dark" campaign to highlight this issue. Think of using bananas in savory dishes - not just sweet dishes. At the Summit, Dole served up some yummy vegan grilled banana skewers. One with tofu.
* Grill 'em till they are ugly! Bananas, grilled, may not look so pretty, but they taste oh so good!
* Savory Recipes Using Bananas. Grilled (or raw) bananas can be used in savory dishes as a sweet accent. Think about how yummy sweet potatoes, butternut squash, dried fruit and other fruit like apples and pears taste in savory dishes like rice, salads and sandwiches. Well bananas can squeeze in there too. At the Summit I enjoyed a yummy vegan tofu chopped salad with diced banana, celery, tofu and greens. Delish!
One of the savory recipes made using bananas. Cashew cream, peanut, tofu-banana-celery salad sandwich..
* Bananas Can Shine Your Shoes! The first thing I told my husband when I returned home was that a banana peel (the inside wet side) can actually be used to shine your shoes. Later that day when he got home from work he said "The shoe shine trick worked!" He was so excited, it was kind of super cute.
* Try those Scary Red Bananas. I tried a red banana for the first time at the Summit and it was delicious and creamy with hints of raspberry and apple. I was always scared off by the dark peel color, but give them a try! Tip: peel the red bananas from the bottom end for easier peeling.
* Vegan Banana Smores. This recipe popped up at our round table discussion, and it is one I MUST try soon. Simply grill bananas, dark and black until they are soft and mushy. Then add a square of dark chocolate to a graham cracker. Instead of a toasted marshmallow, use the hot grilled banana slice. Smush together and let the chocolate melt under the fruit. Maybe add some peanut butter too. YUM!
* Nature's Energy Bar. I love that bananas really are a portable snack that can easily go up against one of those fancy store-bough energy bars. Bananas are the perfect energizing food because they are easy to digest, contain an array of nutrients like fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C - plus they are super inexpensive! Dole's Nature's Energy Bar campaign.
* Dole Nutrition Institute. My favorite thing about Dole is their amazing Nutrition Institute. It is AWESOME! No other company (that I know of) has so much effort invested in learning about (and promoting) all the amazing health benefits of eating fruits and veggies. I am in awe of their dedication, passion and obsession with all things fruit and veggie. Since I adore nutrition chatter, I love listening to their Senior Vice President Jennifer Grossman speak to us. She even did Pilates with us! Love that. It is all about wellness in what you eat and what you DO, right?
* Yonanas! Yup, we had more fun with the Yonanas machine. I love it. I posted these recipes a while back because it is such a fun yummy way to enjoy banana soft serve.
My Yonanas soft serve + fruit..
So much fun, fun, fun. And food, food, food...
Thank you Chef Sutton for a super vegan meal at Carthay..
Disney fun. We rode the Cars Land Racers ride - loved it!...
Our day out in the Park was a rainy day at Disneyland and all the little kiddos were dressed in ponchos. Sad and cute at the same time.
Love these ladies (Julie and Brooke)
And the event ended with a semi-private showing of California Adventure's World of Color Show. LOVED it!!..
Learn more about Dole's Banana Recipes and Nutrition Facts!
Dole.com and Dole Bananas Home
Dole Nutrition Institute
And it was so awesome to meet the other bloggers in attendance! Some old faces and some new! AMAZING ladies each and every one..
* Gina of SkinnyTaste.com
* Jenny of Picky-Palate.com
* Kevin and Amanda of KevinandAmanda.com
* Maria and Josh of TwoPeasAndTheirPod.com
* Shaina of FoodForMyFamily.com
* Lauren of LaurensLatest.com
* Brooke or CheekyKitchen.com
* Bree of BakedBree.com
* Shari of TickledRed.com
* Paula of Bellalimento.com
* Shanna of MyFavoriteEverything.com
* Susan of Doughmesstic.net
POST DISCLAIMER / ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Dole for accommodating me at Disney's California Adventure Resort for the Banana Summit Event. And thank you for making sure I always had a vegan option!! All thoughts, commentary, and postings on the event are my own and done by choice. Thanks again to the entire Banana Summit / Dole folks (Bob, Bil, Odalis, Cindy, Jennifer, Selena and more!) for hosting a fun and inspiring wellness event! And thank you to DISNEY for being (as always) happiness-inducing and fabulous.
Inspired? Check out some of my vegan BANANA recipes.
* Grilled Banana Maui Bagels
* New.. savory-meets-sweet Banana "Cheddar" Bites on Family Kitchen
* Vegan Banana Cream Pie
* Sticky Banana Bread Quinoa Bowl
* Peanut Butter Banana Oat Pancakes
* Green Banana Nut Butter Wrap
* Easy Energy Almond Banana Shake
* Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles
* Pumpkin Spice Banana Bread Bars
* 5-Ingredient PB Banana Pudding