August 25 was National Banana Split Day. If you need an excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, this is one of the healthiest snacks around.
Let’s start with the banana. This is filled with potassium, Vitamins B6 and C, and manganese, plus fiber. This helps with energy and some of the nutrients can help moderate blood sugar levels. Then there is the pineapple with more Vitamin C than recommended on a daily basis. You get more manganese along with some folate and thiamin. These will help reduce the risk of cancer. The cherry on top has melatonin plus the ability to reduce the risk of hypertension and to give you a few antioxidants. Ice cream? Calcium, of course. Topped with nuts as fiber and a little more antioxidants, plus some gut health and omega-3 depending on the type of nuts you include.
In 1904 David Evans Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, is credited with inventing the banana split and Walgreen’s is responsible for increasing its popularity across the country. This was an incentive for drug store patrons to hang around while waiting for their prescriptions to be filled.
Here is a riff on the traditional dessert that can be made in advance.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ pound butter, melted
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 4 to 6 bananas, sliced
- 1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 small container of strawberries, sliced
- 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained
- 12 ounces chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts
- Chocolate syrup
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, white sugar and melted butter. Mix together and press into a 9×13 inch cake pan; refrigerate until chilled.
Beat together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar; spread over graham cracker crust.
Layer fruit over cream cheese mixture; cover fruit with whipped topping.
Drizzle chocolate syrup and top with chopped nuts; refrigerate and serve chilled with a cherry in the middle of each slice you serve.
12 servings (depending on the size of the cut)