By Sue A. James, MS, RD, LDN

Even kids benefit by including heart healthy foods in their diets. There are lots of choices when it comes to eating. Choose to eat nutritious foods that will provide energy and protect the heart. What are the best heart healthy foods?

Vegetables – choose a variety and eat 4 to 5 servings a day. Some popular vegetables are green beans, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. Eat one large serving a day for extra vitamins.

Fruit – eat 4 to 5 servings a day. Choose to eat a variety of fruit with different colors—blueberries, oranges, strawberries and kiwi. Eat a different color of fruit at each meal and snack.

Whole Grains – eat at least 3 servings a day. Whole grains add fiber and B vitamins. Eat whole grain breads and bagels. Try brown rice and whole wheat pasta for dinner tonight!

Fish and Seafood – eat 2 servings a week. This does not include fish sticks. Try some salmon, tilapia, or haddock for a heart healthy protein option.

Dairy Foods – Drink or eat 3 servings a day. The calcium and vitamin D is not only important for growing kids, they keep your bones strong. Drink one glass of fat free milk or eat low fat yogurt at meals.

Nuts and Seeds – Eat 4 servings a week. Nuts and sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats and vitamins. Limit the portion of peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds since they are high in calories but include them weekly since they contain healthy fats.

Go to www.choosemyplate.gov for more information on healthy eating and nutritious food choices.