Patients are often surprised — and delighted — when we “prescribe” a daily dose of dark chocolate (in small amounts) to enhance cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that compounds in dark chocolate called flavanols may reduce risk for heart disease and diabetes, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and perhaps even improve brain health. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which also helps enhance heart health and reduce blood pressure.

This easy, no-bake, vegetarian frozen banana recipe offers a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth that the entire family is sure to love. It’s filled with heart-healthy nutrients but is a bit high in calories and fat, so we recommend limiting yourself to one half-banana serving or less as a “treat” dessert for special occasions, not a daily indulgence. For a flavor variation, substitute other fruits of your choice for the bananas.

4 firm, slightly underripe bananas, peeled
½ cup smooth nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond, sunflower seed)
¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips
1 cup puffed rice cereal (unsweetened)
¼ cup chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit or other toppings
2 teaspoons chia seeds (optional) 

In a small, shallow bowl, warm nut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften and make it easier to spread. In another bowl, combine chocolate chips, cereal and nuts, seeds or dried fruit, and chia seeds, if using. Dip bananas into nut butter or spread it on the fruit with a spoon. Coat bananas with the chocolate chip/cereal/topping mixture, then allow bananas to set in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Slice into 1-inch slices, serve and enjoy! Adapted from and