Is it healthy to rely on just a plantain for breakfast?

Is it healthy to rely on just an plantain for breakfast?
Photo: Shutterstock/Anamaria Mejia

Dietician Liji Jose discusses the health benefits of Kerala’s popular plantain variety Nendran or Ethappzham.

The plantain variety, locally called Nendran or Ethappazham in Kerala, is a storehouse of most nutrients. Many rely on having just an Ethappazham for breakfast in the morning rush, citing a lack of time to sit down for a meal. Is that enough to get the nutrients that we need? Is it healthy to only eat Ethappazham for breakfast regularly?

As Ethappazham is a good source of carbohydrates and natural sugars, we can get a quick boost of energy by having one. However, the acidic nature of the plantain increases the body’s blood sugar levels, thereby leading to increased hunger and tiredness. It can be unhealthy for diabetics. Chances of digestive problems are more in those who just eat Nendran banana for breakfast.

Ethappazham is rich in nutrients. It has Vitamin B 6, Vitamin C, Potassium, and fibre. The calorific value of a medium-sized Nendran banana is estimated at 110 while the nutrients in it can be estimated at protein 1 gm, carbohydrate 28 gm, natural sugars 25 gm (Sucrose, fructose and glucose), fibre 3 gm and potassium 450 milligrams.

Breakfast is the day’s most healthy, nutrient-rich and balanced meal of the day. We must ensure that the breakfast is balanced with enough carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, minerals and fibre.

It is ideal to have a Nendran banana with breakfast or sometime after breakfast.

Here is a recipe for a full meal banana smoothie drink which the kids can relish as a snack at school or as an after-school evening meal.


1 ripe Nendran banana

10 almonds (soaked in water)

10 dates

50 gm tender coconut meat

Jaggery syrup, to taste

100 ml coconut milk

1 cardamom pod


Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or mixer jar

Dilute with water as required

Serve and enjoy the healthy smoothie.

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