Banana vs Plantain

Differences and Nutrition Comparison

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: July 2, 2023

Did you know that plantains can be added to your diet in a multitude of ways? You can consume them raw or add fried plantains to your favorite dish.

However, many people are uncertain about the nutritional differences between plantains and bananas. To assist you in determining which option is more suitable for your dietary needs, this article presents a comparison of plantain and banana nutrition.

Plantain vs Banana Nutrition

What is a Plantain?

Plantains are a fruit that belongs to the banana family and are native to tropical regions such as Central and South America, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa and Asia.

Although plantains and bananas may seem similar, they differ in various ways, such as size, taste, texture, and nutritional value.

  1. Size and Appearance: Plantains are generally larger than bananas, growing up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in length. They also have somewhat thicker skin than bananas.
  2. Taste and Texture: Unlike bananas, plantains are not typically eaten raw due to their firm texture and mild flavor. Even ripe plantains tend to be less sweet than bananas.
  3. Culinary Uses: Plantains are primarily used in cooking and are a staple ingredient in many cuisines. Due to their firm texture, they can be boiled or roasted. But frying plantains is the most popular cooking method.
  4. Nutritional Composition: Plantains and bananas have similar nutritional profiles but differ slightly due to their size and the way they’re eaten.
Plantain vs Banana Size Shape Color

Plantain Nutrition

Let’s start by discussing the nutrition of plantains before comparing them to bananas. It’s important to note that the nutritional value of plantains can differ based on their color and how they are cooked.

Green vs Yellow Plantain

The ripeness of a plantain determines whether it’s green or yellow. Green plantains are not yet ripe and have a higher level of starchy carbohydrates compared to their yellow counterparts.

After a few days, plantains start turning yellow, and the starches break down into simpler sugars. When fully ripe, the sugar content can increase up to eight times the amount found in unripened plantains, though the total amount of carbs slightly decreases.

Table 1. Green vs Yellow Plantain Nutrition (whole)
  Green Plantain Yellow Plantain
Calories 406 329
Protein 3.3g 3.5g
Fat 0.2g 0.9g
Carbs 98g 86g
Sugar 6.1g 47.2g

Raw vs Cooked Plantain

While plantains can be eaten raw, they are typically cooked before consumption. Some cooking methods can significantly alter the plantain’s nutritional profile.

For example, plantains are often fried in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, which contains loads of fat. Luckily, not all of that fat makes it into cooked plantains, but it is enough to drastically increase the calorie content.

Table 2. Raw vs Fried Plantain Nutrition (per 100g)
  Raw Plantain Fried Plantain
Calories 152 309
Protein 1.3g 1.5g
Fat 0.1g 11.8g
Carbs 36.7g 49.2g

Plantain vs Banana Nutrition

Now let’s examine the nutritional value of plantains vs bananas, including the calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Whole Plantain vs Banana Nutrition

It’s important to remember that whole plantains are considerably larger than bananas. On average, a plantain weighs around 9.5 ounces (270 grams), whereas a banana weighs only 4 ounces (115 grams).

As a result, a whole plantain contains approximately three times the number of calories and macronutrients as a banana. Notably, plantains have 86 grams of carbs, which exceeds the recommended intake for most adults in a single sitting.

Table 3. Plantain vs Banana Nutrition (whole)
  Ripe Plantain Ripe Banana
Serving Size 270g 115g
Calories 329 113
Protein 3.5g 0.9g
Fat 0.9g 0.3g
Carbs 86.1g 23.0g

100 gram (3.5 ounce) Plantain vs Banana Nutrition

For a more precise comparison, it is useful to make the serving size equivalent. The USDA database often employs 100-gram portions to standardize nutritional information.

Even when adjusted to equal serving sizes, it is apparent that plantains have a higher concentration of carbohydrates and calories compared to bananas.

Table 4. Plantain vs Banana Nutrition (per 100g)
  Ripe Plantain Ripe Banana
Serving Size 100g 100g
Calories 122 98
Protein 1.3g 0.7g
Fat 0.4g 0.3g
Carbs 31.9g 23.0g
Plantain vs Banana Nutrition Graphic

Plantain vs Banana Nutrients

We don’t just consume food for its calorie and macro content. We must also take into account the micronutrients that are present in food, such as vitamins and minerals.

It is common knowledge that bananas are rich in potassium, but it may come as a surprise that plantains contain 50% more potassium per serving. Moreover, they are a potent source of magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Table 5. Plantain vs Banana Vitamins & Minerals (per 100g)
  Ripe Plantain Ripe Banana
Vitamin A 1130 IU 20 IU
Vitamin C 18.4 mg 12.3 mg
Magnesium 36 mg 28 mg
Potassium 487 mg 326 mg

Banana vs Plantain: Which Is Better?

Choosing between plantains and bananas for your diet depends on your specific nutritional needs and health goals.

Plantains are a more nutrient-dense option and can provide the extra energy needed for strenuous workouts. However, frying them can add unhealthy vegetable oil and fat to your diet, so it’s important to be mindful of your cooking methods.

By comparison, bananas offer lower carbs and calories, making them a better choice for overall health and weight loss goals. And they are a convenient food that can be eaten raw for a healthy snack or added to smoothies as a meal replacement.

Overall, it’s essential to consider your specific needs when deciding which fruit to incorporate into your diet.

  • Calories & Carbohydrates – Bananas are better for a weight loss meal plan, but plantains could be a good starchy carb for post-workout meals.
  • Vitamins & Minerals – Plantains are a more concentrated source of micronutrients than bananas.
  • Convenience – Bananas are easier to peel and eat raw or add to nutritious smoothies.
  • Versatility – The various cooking options for plantains make them better for adding to your main course meals.
  • Taste – Bananas taste better raw, while plantains gain flavor after cooking.

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More Nutrition Guides

By now, you are aware of the contrasting nutritional benefits of plantains and bananas and how they can both be incorporated into your meal plan effectively.

However, a well-rounded diet also includes lean protein and healthy fats. To further assist you, I have compiled a list of informative articles that highlight the nutritional value of other wholesome foods.

Apple Juice vs Orange Juice Nutrition Analysis

Calories and Protein in 8 oz of Milk

Cornish Hen Calories & Nutrition vs Chicken

How Much Protein Is In 3 Eggs?

Chicken Breast Nutrition Comparison

Highest Protein, Lowest Fat Salmon Species

Ground Beef: How Lean Should You Buy?

Most Nutritious Cuts of Steak

How to Tell If An Avocado Is Ripe

With this information, you’re well on your way to making better nutrition choices. Feel free to browse my other fitness-related content below for more helpful tips on everything from workouts to supplements.

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By |July 2, 2023|Nutrition|Comments Off on Plantain vs Banana Nutrition: Which Is Healthier?
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