Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. During National Nutrition Month in March, the American Heart Association is encouraging Americans to eat smart by ditching the junk, and giving the body the nutrient-dense fuel it needs.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons in the fight against heart disease – the No. 1 killer of Americans. Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable. Eating smart is just one component of the Association’s Healthy For Good® movement. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well.

When it comes to healthy eating, making smart choices and including fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack will benefit heart health and overall health. Incorporating small, simple changes can make a big difference in living a healthier life and can help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Here are some ways you can eat smart and add color during Nutrition Month and year-round:

  • Cooking fruits and vegetables in healthy ways brings out their natural flavors, so you don’t need to overdo it on salt or sauces, which are often filled with sugar.
  • Get a whole serving of most fruits or vegetables with just half a cup of fresh, frozen or canned produce. One cup of raw, leafy vegetables or one whole medium-sized fruit (apple, orange, banana) is a full serving.
  • Eat with the seasons by adding seasonal produce, which will help you from getting bored and add more color to your plate.
  • Cooking more meals at home not only saves money, but gives everyone an opportunity to build better eating habits, one plate at a time.
  • Swap unhealthy ingredients for healthier substitutes like low-fat yogurt for heavy cream, snacks that are baked instead of fried, grilled options and ways to add color, like switching out fries for a side salad.

For more information, tips and recipes, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.