Hacking a few of your traditional recipes this holiday season is smart for your heart. November is Eat Smart Month which is a great time to take a hard look at your recipes and incorporate simple swaps to make your favorite dishes healthier for the whole family.

The American Heart Association recommends adults eat at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Health goals are normally put on hold until the New Year, but why not try creating your healthy habits early and maintaining them through the holidays?

Be your best self and try these eight American Heart Association-approved recipe hacks:

  1. Look for “low-sodium” veggies or try the frozen varieties. About 70 percent of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed, prepackaged or restaurant foods. Reading labels is a simple way to net healthy results.
  2. Replace salt with herbs and spices. Lemon juice, citrus zest or hot chilies can add extra flavor without the added sodium.
  3. Choose canned fruits packed in juice or water rather than syrup. Fruit is plenty sweet without added sugars.
  4. Swap non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
  5. Instead of butter, use a healthier vegetable oil or substitute equal parts unsweetened applesauce when baking.
  6. Sneak in a vegetable, like pureed sweet potatoes, carrots or cauliflower to boost nutrition.
  7. Go for half and half — half wheat and half white flour, that is. Whole grains are a great nutritional boost.
  8. Sip smarter by adding seasonal fruit to old fashioned H2O. Try infusing cranberries, pomegranate arils or orange slices into sparkling water.

Eat Smart Month is part of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good™ movement, which is designed to help you make lasting changes through simple steps in four areas: Eat Smart, Add Color, Move More, Be Well.  Learn more at heart.org/eatsmartmonth.