19 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions from Dietitians
The New Year is all about making resolutions for healthy living. It’s natural to start off the New Year thinking about all of the goals you want to set. And diet and weight loss are always top of the list. However, many people turn to fad weight loss diets this time of year, instead of thinking about diet changes that promote and sustain a vibrant lifestyle over the long term. Your diet pattern has the power to reduce your risks of chronic diseases over your lifetime. What you eat is much more significant to your health than whether you lose a few pounds. In fact, a healthful diet should promote a positive weight range, PLUS a lifestyle that keeps you feeling energized, satisfied, happy, and free of chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Many fad diets don’t achieve these goals. I asked some of the top dietitians to weigh in on their best healthy New Year’s resolutions for a balanced, healthful lifestyle. Read on for their fabulous tips.
Happy New Year,
19 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions from Dietitians
1. Try New Plant-Based, Seasonal Recipes. “Try a new recipe using seasonal plant foods once a week! Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone,” says Judy Simon MS, RDN, CD, CHES, FAND, of Mind Body Nutrition.
2. Go for the Real Stuff. “Skip the protein drinks and cleanses and eat real food. If you’ve got teeth and a small intestine, let your body do the digestion!” says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition.
3. Think Improvement, Not Perfection. “Ditch the ‘all or nothing’ approach and focus on improvement not perfection. Your eating doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better then what it was,” says Jean LaMantia, RD.
4. Remember, Colorful is Good. “Add more color to your meals with plant-based foods like vegetables and fruit. Try to include a serving at each meal. Make half your plate vegetables,” says Janet Brancato, MS, RDN of My Nutopia.
5. Eat to Serve Your Body. “Try your best to eat and do things that will serve your body, rather than harm it,” says Jackie Durand, RDN of JD Nutrition, LLC.
6. Think What You Can Eat, Not What You Can’t. “Make it a goal this year to focus on what foods you can add, instead of what you should avoid,” says Breanna Woods, MS, RDN.
7. Form New Healthy Habits. “Forming new eating habits isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Greet each day as a new chance to make better choices. Good health isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. Some days, weeks, and months are better than others when it comes to eating and exercising,” says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD of Better is the New Perfect.
8. Focus On the Good Things. “Decide to focus on all the good things you can ADD to your life instead of what you’re taking away. You are enriching your life and your body by adding more produce to your plate, adding some time for self-care, adding joyful movement. It’s freeing and nurturing to think about what good things you can add instead of what you have to do without,” says Kit Broihier, MS, RD, LD of NutriComm Inc.
9. Pack Your Plate with Nutrient-Rich Foods. “With the new year coming up you want to focus on getting more for your buck. Not only with everyday spending, but also with nutrition. Incorporating more nutrition packed foods with your meals will definitely put you on the path to better health,” says Jaymar Saniatan, RD of Nutrition Phitness.
10. Banish Negative Body Thoughts. “Any time you start to have a negative thought or start to make a negative comment about your looks or body, stop! Turn it around and put something positive about yourself out into the world,” says Amanda Hibshman, RDN.
11. Don’t Stress Over Meals. “Focus on having meals together as a family vs. stressing about how fancy the food is! Combining some pre-made foods with home cooked sides can help you prepare meals quickly on busy weeknights,” says Jessica Gust, MS, RDN, Pediatric and Family Dietitian at Element Nutrition Co.
12. Practice Mindful Eating. “Be in the present, avoid distractions, savor every bite, and enjoy your meal. Mindful eating can help you listen to your body’s signals, recognize hunger and fullness cues, and allow you to find joy in eating,” says Rahaf Al Bochi, RD, LD, owner of Olive Tree Nutrition and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
13. Don’t Go Hungry. “Maintain regular meals and snacks. Do not starve yourself to save up for one big meal,” says Amy Reed, RDN.
14. Get Close to Mother Nature. “Foods in their whole form, without processing, are good for you. But you might not realize just how good they are! Whole foods packaged by Mother Nature do more than just make you feel great. They also help you lose weight and prevent a host of health problems. For example, fruits and vegetables contain super-concentrated phytonutrients that deliver a major boost to your immune system. When you eat plenty of them, not only do you lose weight and reduce your inflammation, but you also fight off illnesses, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease,” says Judith Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD, author of Lean Body Smart Life.
15. Plan Meals in Advance. “Make meal planning and meal prep part of your weekly routine. Planning a menu of meals in advance and prepping some ingredients to have on hand can help ensure healthier meals land on the table. Meal planning also saves money and reduces food waste,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary nutrition expert and author of “52-Week Meal Planner”.
16. Save Time in the Kitchen. “Try some new kitchen gadgets and appliances, and start eating more meals at home! There are lots of inexpensive gadgets and appliances that are huge time-savers in the kitchen, making meal prep much healthier and easier,” says Corinne Kantor, BS, DTR, CLT of The Food Cop.
17. Have a Game Plan. “If you’re looking for ways to be healthier and happier, prepare nutritious and delicious meals, and enjoy your daily dinnertime more, consider the power of meal prep and planning, healthy recipes and modifications, dinner conversation starters and more. Choose a few strategies to try and get more, have more and enjoy more in the new year!” says Melissa Joy Dobbins, RDN, blogger at Sound Bites RD and creator of Do M.O.R.E. with Dinner- Make Ordinary Rituals Extraordinary.
18. Make a Place for Balance. “It’s easy to stress about everything we feel we are struggling with–whether it’s our eating habits or cooking skills. Why not look at it differently? Instead of feeling inadequate, feel grateful. Know that you are enough just as you are. Learn to practice intuitive eating, trusting your body to guide the way. Know that all foods have a place in your diet, sometimes they may rank higher on the nourishment scale and other times on the pleasure scale. Sometimes they may provide neither, and that’s ok too,” says Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN of Halsa Nutrition.
19. Be Smart About Eating Changes. “Step 1. Take stock of your current eating habits and food choices. Be honest with yourself. Step 2. Set one or two goals to make a small change in the easiest items to change. Make sure it’s something you want to change. Use this process to makes slow and steady changes. Repeat again and again,” says Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE.
For more dietitian tips on a healthful lifestyle, check out these blogs: