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A Banana Split Dinner

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Would it be so unusual to have a banana split at dinnertime? How about simply replacing dinner with one? Most folks would say neither is a good idea. Most folks would claim such a thing isn’t healthy. No normal person would substitute dinner for a calorie-laden banana and ice cream concoction – topped with lots of nuts and gooey stuff. Who in their right mind would do such a thing - not once but twice, and in the same week? The very same week he was to get his annual physical. You can’t see it, but over here my hand is raised.

Now before I get toted away to the funny farm, I can justify my choice for dinner. It’s really easy. Contained on, or in a banana split are the key ingredients of a nutritionally sound evening meal of protein, vegetables, fruit, and a healthy beverage. And for my young readers out there who also may want to enjoy a nutritious and delicious banana split dinner - feel free to cite this article as evidence to your parents for defense of your culinary position. It probably won’t help to sway them, but feel free to cite it anyway.

A banana split always starts off the same way - with a large banana split right down the middle. Use more than one, and it’ll throw off the whole balance of supper. One banana - I’m sure my doctor would agree this counts as one large serving of fruit.

Next, on top of the split banana rest three scoops of ice cream, but not just any kind of ice cream. Only natural ice cream should be used. After all, this is a healthy dinner, and by using only natural ice cream I’m sure my doctor would concur. Now, The Wife says all the ice cream must be vanilla. Vanilla is traditional after all, but I like diversification. So I use a scoop each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Besides having three different flavors of ice cream gives you something just using vanilla will not - true diversification. Just ask any stock guy how important that is.

Another reason for three different flavors is, of course, for health. All those strawberries count as another fruit serving and the benefits of chocolate in one’s diet have recently been documented, or so the wife tells me. Also all that milk in the ice cream helps to build healthy bones. And what of the scoop of vanilla? Well, it’s traditional. Who am I to go against tradition?

 Next up is another helping of fruit in the form of pineapple. (If you’re counting that’s three). A big spoonful of pineapple chunks in syrup is dumped on top of one of the scoops of ice cream - The Wife tells me it’s the one on the far left. On top of the middle scoop is a large ladle of hot fudge. No ladle? A soup spoon will do just fine. No hot fudge? Go to the store and buy some - it’s traditional. You can’t go against tradition. Unless, of course, you’re talking about diversification of ice cream scoops, then it’s okay.

Finally, the ice cream on the far right gets a heaping mound of chopped walnuts. High in protein and essential oil, nuts are a super food and perhaps one of then most perfect energy foods. Want your kids to move faster when you ask them to do something – like homework? Feed them a handful of nuts on top of a banana split. Just watch any squirrel. They eat nuts all the time and look how fast they move. Worried about the calories in all those nuts? No need - ever seen an overweight squirrel?

Next up, cover the top of the banana split with whipped cream. Okay, cream is loaded with fat I will agree. But it’s as fluffy and light as a cloud. Never saw anyone gain weight from eating a cloud. Bubba Hanks did get sick from eating half a bag of jumbo marshmallows once, but there’s no marshmallows used in the construction of banana split dinner so you should be safe.

On top of all that whipped cream are two very important, delicious, and healthy items. The first is natural chocolate syrup. Just ask your mom; she’ll tell you chocolate is good for all sorts of ailments. Lastly add three cherries. Even though there are three cherries, we will only count them as one fruit serving – bringing the total fruit servings to four.

Now some of you will want to know where are the vegetables in our substitute for dinner. If you must, a large piece of steamed broccoli can be added on top. Rest assured, it will still be on the plate after the banana split has been consumed, but at least mom will have the satisfaction of seeing vegetables on the plate.

I would continue with the justification of not only a banana split for dinner, but also a cupcake for dessert. Unfortunately a quick look in the freezer means I must make a quick trip to the grocery store before The Wife gets home. Seems someone around here has eaten the main ingredient for dinner tonight – ice cream. That someone, of course, being me.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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