India has a long-standing tradition of serving food on banana leaves. Especially in places down South, eating food on banana leaves is considered quite healthy and auspicious. Most people use banana leaves to serve an authentic south Indian spread on festivals and family get-togethers. They are also considered quite sacred and are often used for offering prasad to the deities. These thick leaves are big enough to serve a multi-course meal ranging from sambhar to chutneys. You can also cut these leaves in different sizes and place them on a platter of any size. Onam Sadhya looks quite appealing to the eyes partly because it is served on these pretty leaves. Banana leaves are loaded with nutrients we bet you didn't know about. Food, when served on banana leaves, gets enriched with several nutrients that we would otherwise miss.
Banana leaves contain large amounts of polyphenols that are natural antioxidants. These are found in many plant-based foods and green tea. Food served on the banana leaves absorbs the polyphenols which are said to prevent many lifestyle diseases. They are also said to have anti-bacterial properties that can possibly kill the germs in food.
Having food on banana leaves is one of the most economical and inexpensive options to go for. You don't need to worry about spending those extra bucks on tons of utensils. Just grab few banana leaves from the banana tree and you're done for the day. Just rinse the leaves with water and get going.
Make a smart move and ditch those plastic disposable utensils for banana leaves as they are much more eco-friendly. Not only do they decompose in a very short time, which we all know most types of plastic do not, but they also save the extra time and effort that would have otherwise gone in washing the dishes. Chemical-based dishwashing soaps and liquids further enter the groundwater and could harm the water table in the long run.
It is always a good idea to eat on banana leaves as it is certainly more hygienic when compared to other utensils. Normal utensils have to be washed using soap and there are chances that traces of soap may still remain on the utensils even after washing. Those traces might end up contaminating your food. Banana leaves have a wax-like coating that prevents dirt and dust from sticking on the surface of leaves. It also adds subtle and earthy flavors to the dishes that are served on the leaves.
The tradition of eating food on banana leaves is not only a treat to the eyes but to the palate as well. So the next time someone offers you a meal on a banana leaf, roll up your sleeves and dig right in!