Eat Smart

A senior woman is smiling while eating a balanced meal.

Eating well can help reduce your risk of having a stroke or prevent a second one. As you make daily food choices, base them on these American Heart Association recommendations.

Fruits and Vegetables

Multi-colored fresh fruits and vegetables

Here are some examples of a serving of fruits and vegetables:

  • One medium fruit = about the size of your fist
  • ½ cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • ¼ cup of 100% fruit juice
  • ½ cup of vegetable juice

Whole Grains

A tuna wrap with avocado is sliced in half and arranged on a plate.

Here are some examples of a serving of whole grains:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread (such as 100% whole-wheat bread)
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereal
  • ½ cup cooked whole-grain cereal (such as oatmeal), brown rice or whole-wheat pasta
  • 5 whole-grain crackers
  • 3 cups unsalted, air-popped popcorn
  • 1 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla


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Here are some examples of a serving of protein:

  • Piece of meat or fish about the size of a deck of cards
  • Small chicken drumstick or thigh
  • 2 thin slices of lean roast beef (each slice 3" x 3" x 1/4")
  • ½ cup of legumes (such as lentils, beans and chickpeas)
  • A small handful of nuts (such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios)
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheeses (such as Swiss or Cheddar)

How to eat smart using a nutrition label

The Nutrition Facts label can help you make healthier choices. Here’s what you should be looking for.
Eat Smart with Nutrition Labels Infographic


Start with serving information.

This will tell you the size of a single serving and how many servings are in the package.


Check total calories.

Do the math to know how many calories you’re getting if you eat the whole package.


Limit certain nutrients.

Compare labels when possible and choose options with lower amounts of added sugars, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.


Get enough of beneficial nutrients.

Eat foods with nutrients your body needs, such as calcium, dietary fiber, iron, potassium and vitamin D.


Look for % Daily Value.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving in terms of the daily recommended amount.

More things to consider:

  • When cooking, use healthy oils, such as olive or canola.
  • Minimize intake of processed foods.
  • Minimize intake of added sugars.
  • Emphasize foods prepared with little or no salt.
  • Limit alcohol intake, if any.
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