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Healthy Eating 2014: The Essential Guide

January 12, 2014
Sally Tamarkin

Making resolutions for the New Year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you're hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, here are 9 science-backed action steps toward healthy eating to kick off your best year yet!

At the start of each year, many people are resolving to eat healthier so they can lose some weight or undo the results of an indulgent holiday season. But weight loss isn’t the only reason to change up our eating habits. Sometimes eating more healthfully simply makes us feel happier or better. Follow some of our tips to treat yourself to healthy eating in the new year.

1. Moderate, don’t deprive.
No need to go cold turkey forever when it comes to your favorite treats. Aim to eat nutritious foods your body loves 80 percent of the time. Use that other 20 percent to treat yourself a bit.

2. Graze healthfully. 
Tide yourself over between meals with healthier snacks. Whether your thing is sweet or savory, crunchy or chewy, there are plenty of options for snacking smart. Bonus: Not being too ravenous at the next meal might make it easier to eat slowly, notice your body’s fullness cues, and not overeat. 

3. Eat fresh produce throughout year.
Keep an eye on what’s in season because eating fresh means eating the tastiest fruits and veggies around.

Indulge smarter

4. Indulge smarter. Chocolate-dipped strawberries? Choco-Nut popcorn? Yes, please. Lower sugar doesn’t have to mean less deliciousness.  

5.  Understand emotional eating.
There is a link between how we feel and how we eat, particularly when it comes to stress. Figuring out what kind of eater you are and whether you look to food to comfort you in times of anger, boredom, stress, or sadness will help you formulate a plan for making different decisions when faced with those emotions.

6. Make holidays, birthdays, and special occasions a little healthier. 
Holidays and special occasions are always a good reason to enjoy delicious food. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to celebrate without going overboard. 

7. Be mindful at meal times 
Staying tuned in to what you’re eating (as opposed to the phone or T.V.) is a great way to eat until you’re full, but not beyond. Being relaxed and mindful can also help you heed fullness cues.

Healthy breakfast

8. Start the day with healthy.
Studies suggest that eating breakfast is linked to sustained weight loss and weight management, particularly when that breakfast is nutritious and fiber-rich and high in protein.

9. Use the buddy system.
Having a partner with the same healthy-eating ambitions has been shown to help both people reach their goals. If you don’t yet know anyone with goals similar to yours, find community online. Use #healthyishappy to see what kinds of awesome choices people are making and to inspire your own.

What will be the easiest or most challenging aspects of eating healther in the new year? Let us know in the comments below.