By Bob Hilkert, Guest Blogger, Global Program Clinical Head at Novartis, and American Heart Association New Jersey Board Member.

Virtually no American adults and less than one percent of children meet the American Heart Association’s definition of ideal cardiovascular health, due to health factors, like poor diet, inadequate physical activity, and being overweight or obese.

With nearly twelve percent and nine percent of U.S. adults eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, respectively, more education and resources are needed to help increase our intake of healthy foods.

The American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good™ movement celebrates Eat Smart Month this November with recipes and science-backed tips to help you be the best you – at your peak – this holiday season and all year round.

While eating smart is key, an overall healthy lifestyle that also includes getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking will help lead to the ultimate gift – healthy holidays for years to come.

Start today with these four tips and stay Healthy for Good:

  • Balance is Key. Enjoy splurging every now and then but don’t overdo it.  If you miss a workout, take the stairs or park farther away from the entrance and walk.
  • Add Color to Your Plate. Practice choosing colorful foods to ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables!
  • Sip Smarter.  Replace sugary drinks like soda with water to avoid excess calories.
  • Keep the Family Active.  Pick activities the whole family will love and get active together while you have fun!

For more resources to help you eat smart and to learn more, visit heart.org/eatsmartmonth.