Peanut Butter Banana Boats

Lots of people eat three square meals a day, but to me that has always seemed like a very hungry way to go through life. When my schedule allows, I much prefer to eat between five to six times a day, with two or three snacks sprinkled in between three smaller meals. This tip is actually something I recommend to folks who are trying to lose weight or curb their appetite.

In a nutshell, more meals = less hunger = less overeating = a healthier, happier you. Simple!

Now, the key to this lifestyle is the snacking. The snacks have to be healthy, delicious, and provide nutrients (i.e. no snacks full of empty calories like cheez puffs). Snacks are also awesome after work outs, for athletes, and for kids of any age – preschool through high school – and particularly kids participating in athletics.

My mother makes a damn good snack, but my favorite is her creation called the “Peanut Butter Banana Boat.” She makes them in our kitchen at home (I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently residing at home while I’m in grad school, and it’s been fantastic. Great snackage.) She’s made them in our car while on roadtrips. She’s made them at my brother’s house down at Ohio State. And each time she produces a delicious, beautiful product that I personally think is fit for a cooking magazine.

She takes a cold banana, slices down the middle lengthwise, and sets it on a plate. (For some reason, she likes her bananas cold. Don’t ask me why.) Then she smoothes it with peanut butter and whole fruit jelly, and she decorates it with whatever is handy – walnuts, pineapple, strawberries, chocolate chips…

Recently, I was starving and decided to make “one of those peanut butter banana things.” I cut the banana, and then the trouble started.

The insides of bananas, as it turns out, are slippery little suckers. It took me fifteen minutes to spread that peanut butter.  In the meantime, my younger brother ambled in.

“Oo, snack time! Nicci make me one,” he said.

“No.” I said, now fighting with the apricot jelly.

“I’ll make it for you, Billy!” my mom said. My brother has a unique way of getting my mother to make him anything, mostly because he reacts to peanut butter and bananas the same way most people react to chateau briand.

I was still trying to keep the jelly from slipping off the peanut butter when I glanced over at my mother. She was done with Billy’s, and it looked perfect. I looked back down at my sorry excuse for a Banana Snack and wondered what I’d done wrong. I’d almost crushed one half of it. She saw me staring forlornly at the banana, patted me on the back, and said,

“It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

As I placed the finishing touches of walnuts on mine, Billy asked, “What do you call this thing?” I thought for a moment.


Billy started laughing uncontrollably, and my mother could barely breathe.

“It really does look like a hammock,” I added. “Like the walnuts are relaxing on a hammock made of bananas.”

“Do you know what a Banana Hammock is??” Billy asked when he finally caught his breath.

As it turned out, I did not.

“It’s the perfect name,” I insisted. Billy shook his head. And then it dawned on me. I could not name this tasty creation a Banana Hammock.

So Banana Boat it is.

The nutritional bonus to eating this snack: high in protein, high in healthy fats including omega-3s, high in potassium (from the banana), low in added sugars, and high in fiber. Winning!


Peanut Butter Banana Boat, clearly made by my mother and not by me.

Peanut Butter Banana Boat, clearly made by my mother and not me.
Photo by Nicci Brown


Peanut Butter Banana Boat
A Lauren E. Brown Original Snack

Prep time: About 3 minutes (unless you’re me, in which case allow a half hour)
Yield: 1 delicious and nutritious snack


  • 1 cold banana (or warm – it’s easier to spread)
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (we use Skippy Natural – I would recommend trying to find a brand that doesn’t use hydrogenated oils)
  • 2 Tablespoons Smucker’s Apricot Simply Fruit (we use this because it’s “Simply Fruit” – no high fructose corn syrup like Smucker’s regular jelly)
  • ⅛ cup walnuts (about 15 g or 10 walnuts)


  1. Slice the banana in half down the middle, lengthwise
  2. Spread peanut butter equally on each half of the banana.
  3. Spread jelly equally on top of peanut butter on each half of the banana
  4. Top with walnuts, placed evenly

Serving Size: 1 Banana Boat
     Calories: 340
          Total Fat: 18 grams
               Saturated: 3 grams
               Unsaturated: 15 g
               Cholesterol:  0 mg
          Potassium: 490 mg
          Total Carbohydrate: 42 grams
               Dietary Fiber: 5 grams
               Sugars: 24 grams*
          Protein: 7.5 gram

          *80% of sugar from natural sugar in banana


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