Why is it that New Year diet resolutions fail so often?
Every year as January approaches, millions of people start planning how they’re going to get healthy in the New Year. Gyms are suddenly packed, magazines promising speedy weight-loss tips fly off the shelves, and a month later, everything goes back to normal.
This year, skip the questionable sources promising things they can’t deliver, and make resolutions you can keep that are centered around eating well. If your goal is eating a balanced diet or enjoying new foods, these resolutions will help you get there, and you may lose a few pounds in the process.
1. Resolve to Try New Foods
We get it, few things are worse than taking a chance on a new dish and spending hours preparing it, only to discover that you and/or your family don’t like it. But one of the best ways to improve your diet and keep mealtime interesting is to increase the diversity of the foods you eat. Sure, come to the store with your grocery list in hand, but also look for ways to be flexible.
A fun way to discover new foods is to buy one thing you’ve never tried before every time you visit the supermarket. Maybe that’s a vegetable you’ve yet to encounter, or a healthy protein you wouldn’t normally think of, such as Angus Steak Bacon. Finding ways to prepare and enjoy new foods can shake you out of counterproductive routines and help you discover new favorites.
2. Resolve to Swap in Healthy Ingredients
It’s a tale as old as time—what we love the most can end up hurting us just as much. But eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to mean cutting out the foods you’re fondest of. Instead, look for ways to swap in healthy ingredients to your existing recipes.
Get started with our article, “7 Simple Ingredient Swaps for Cooking Healthier Meals at Home,” which outlines seven common recipe ingredients you can swap in to make your meals as healthy as possible, without compromising on flavor.
3. Resolve to Cook at Home More
Dining out or ordering in is undeniably convenient, but what makes that restaurant food so good? More often than not, it’s a lot more fat and salt than you would cook with at home. Even those “healthy” salads can be hiding unhealthy secrets in heavy dressings or deep-fried toppings.
To make sure you know what you’re actually eating, and get a wholesome meal on the table for the family, resolve to cook at home more than you eat out per week. Cook more than you need so you can repurpose the leftovers for lunches and dinners.
You can avoid ending up with moldy cheeses and forgotten veggies going brown in the back of your fridge by making a weekly meal plan and shopping list before heading to the store. It also helps to schedule the meals that require more fresh produce for earlier in the week.
4. Resolve to Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
Whether you’re trying to be healthy by eating less or are just too busy to eat, it can be tempting to skip meals in an effort to save calories or time. But in the long term, it’s actually worse for you in every way.
Skipping meals is more likely to lead to bad choices and overeating later, and the deficit in energy can make you feel sluggish, depressed, and less productive. It also lowers your metabolism, so later on you could potentially gain more weight just by eating your regular meals. For good health, aim to eat frequent small meals no more than four to six hours apart.
5. Resolve to Eat Healthy Snacks
Snacks get a bit of a bad reputation, but that’s only because we associate them with junk food. To keep your energy high throughout the day, snacks are essential. And by making sure the snacks you have on hand are ones that will contribute to your health rather than detract from it, you can set yourself up to meet your diet resolutions for the new year.
And remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. Any fad diet or checkout aisle magazine that promises quick weight loss is either lying or suggesting something that’s not good for your body. In the long run, a little bit of progress every day is more sustainable than a huge change all at once. If you really want to get healthy, the key is to go easy on yourself—and focus on small, achievable goals that will leave you feeling great.
Looking for more healthy meal ideas to help you meet your New Year’s resolutions? Check out our guide to turning a salad into a balanced meal.