Because it's the holiday season, it's a little hard to resist those holiday treats. All the pies and cakes stare at you begging for attention. However, you know that your doctor has you on a heart smart diet and you need to stay true to that. Here are some ways to a smart heart as well as a swell Banana Cream Pie recipe below.

Getting to a Smart Heart can be difficult. In the United States almost 80 million people have cardiovascular disease (CVD) and many more are at risk. It's estimated that 72 million people aged 20 or over have high blood pressure and another 105 million have high cholesterol.

Living a Smart Heart lifestyle requires regular exercise, change of eating habits and if you smoke, quit.

Make sure you incorporate five or more fruits and vegetables a day into your meal plan. A steady helping of cranberries or walnuts will satisfy your craving to chew. The cranberries count as a fruit while the walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart and blood pressure.

Heart disease if left unchecked, can make its presence known by your 50s if not earlier. Keep in mind weight, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and smoking can make you a high risk factor.

Follow the chart below for fat intake if you have CVD.

If You Are Eating 2,000 calories
Your Saturated Fat Intake 20 grams Your Dietary Cholesterol Intake Should Not Be More Than Should Be Less Than 300 milligrams

If You Are Eating 2,500 calories,
Your Saturated Fat Intake 28 grams
Your Dietary Cholesterol Intake Should Not Be More Than Should Be Less Than 300 milligrams

If You Are Eating 2,800 calories
Your Saturated Fat Intake 31 grams
Your Dietary Cholesterol Intake Should Not Be More Than Should Be Less Than 300 milligrams

Here's a quick and easy recipe for Banana Cream Pie:


Cooking spray
12 graham cracker squares (6 full sheets)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup, plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sliced banana (3 medium bananas)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a food processor, process graham crackers until finely ground. Add butter and 1 tablespoon of water, and process until the crumb clumps together. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pie plate and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then let cool.

In the meantime, make the filling. Put the gelatin in a small bowl; add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup of sugar and the flour. In a medium bowl lightly beat the milk and eggs together. Add the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk so the flour and sugar dissolve. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract and gelatin. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange the sliced bananas on the graham cracker crust and pour the pudding on top. Place in the refrigerator until the pudding has set, about 3 hours.

Whip the cream with an electric beater. When it is about halfway done, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, then continue whipping until fully whipped. Put the whipped cream in a plastic bag, concentrating it in 1 corner of the bag. Snip that corner off the bag and squeeze the whipped cream out of the bag in a decorative pattern around the pie.

Nutrition Information

Nutritional Analysis per Serving Calories: 215
Total Fat: 8 grams Saturated Fat: 4 grams
Protein: 4 grams Carbohydrates: 32 grams
Fiber: 1.5

Recipe Summary

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings


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