These 100 healthy tips will get you started to a wholesome year full of fitness, nutrition, and a more healthy lifestyle.
With the new year comes new expectations and goals, often accompanied by the fear of falling off the resolutions wagon by month’s end. Make this year different. Put aside over-blown resolutions and commit to making small changes all year to make this year your lightest ever. The benefits: Lose weight, put a bounce in your step, get some calm in the kitchen, and become a healthier you without feeling deprived.
Eating even one meal that contains capsaicin—the compound that gives hot sauce and chile peppers their heat—not only reduces levels of hunger-causing ghrelin, but also raises GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone.
Caffeine from your coffee is not enough fuel to start your day. Make sure to include a breakfast that is full of protein-rich
and high-fiber foods like eggs with whole-wheat toast.
View Recipe: Baked Egg-in-a-Hole
Find a trail near you and rediscover the great outdoors. A 4 to 5 mile hike is a great start for beginners. Visit Trails.com to find nearby hiking trails.
A recent study showed that if you eat with your nondominant hand you can reduce what you eat by 30% because it breaks up that automatic hand-to-mouth flow. If you have trouble slowing down, put your utensil in your other hand. It's inconvenient, it's awkward, and you cannot go fast.
Squeezing in 3 square meals a day may not suite your lifestyle. At the end of the day, it’s how many total calories you’ve taken in. If you like to “graze,” eat smaller meals and a few snacks throughout the day.
Try spaghetti squash. The name says it all with this veggie varietal. Once baked, spaghetti squash can be flaked with a fork
to reveal spaghetti-like strands.
View Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Tomato-Basil Sauce
Cut your current high-sugar cereal with a low sugar, high-fiber brand. Gradually reduce the amount of sugary cereal in your bowl until you are eating only the high-fiber brand. Check out our picks for The Best Healthy Cereals.
Mise en place is a French word meaning “putting in place.” Preparation is one of the biggest time savers when cooking a healthy meal. Lay out all ingredients, equipment, and utensils you need before you begin cooking.
Add chia seeds to your water bottle, morning OJ, afternoon iced tea, or sprinkle them on salads, yogurt, and cereal. One ounce
delivers an impressive 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Research found they can help you eat less by naturally regulating
blood sugar, which helps put the breaks on hunger.
Find more Filling Foods.
Nothing cheers up food the way lemons do. Perk up snack time by sprinkling freshly-grated rind over hot popcorn.
Drink a cup of coffee right before a 20-minute power nap. Studies show it takes about that amount of time for the caffeine to kick in, so you'll wake feeling ready to go.
To be a winner in health, it doesn’t matter how quickly you lose weight. What matters is how long you can sustain your new healthy lifestyle.
Savor and sip the superiority of one local, full-flavored high-gravity craft beer. It’ll quench and satisfy far greater than 2 ultralight pints.
If you’re starving when you get home from work, prepare your salad, eat it, and then cook the rest of your meal. This easy
spinach salad is a quick and delicious idea for a starter salad.
View Recipe: Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette
Build you pasta meal not with pasta alone. The ideal dish should have ½ cup cooked pasta, 1 cup veggies, and 3 ounces of lean
View Recipe: Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp
Fill your salt shaker with pepper and your pepper shaker with salt. Since salt shakers have more holes, the switcheroo will help to slash your sodium intake.
Be careful not to turn your salad into a high-fat disaster. Pass on creamy dressings and opt for olive oil and vinegar, choose
sunflower seeds for crunch instead of croutons, and limit portions of cheese and avocado.
View Recipe: Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad
A speedier cook time doesn’t mean less wholesome. Instant and quick cooking oats—both rolled and steel cut—are as nutritious, tasty, and fully whole grain as their longer-cooking
Find more Common Nutrition Myths.
Need exercise motivation? Find a buddy to work out with—family members, friends, or even the dog can help keep you accountable.
Have a craving for French fries but don’t want to add too many calories to your meal? Cut the calories somewhere else. Try losing half of the hamburger bun, skipping the mayo, or passing on the cheese. Check out these homemade Better, Lighter Burgers.
Eat twice as often, eat half as much, and chew twice as long.
Add volume to your sandwich by piling on low-calorie veggies instead of more meat. You’ll feel like you are eating just as
much but you’ll be consuming fewer calories.
View Recipe: Hummus Club Sandwiches
You are more likely to consume more chips, nuts, or pretzels if you eat straight from the bag. Be a smart snacker by portioning
out your serving size and putting the bag away immediately before you indulge. Try making your own spiced snacks, like these
View Recipe: Chili-Spiced Almonds
Make your table monochromatic: If your plates and bowls match and are the same colors as your tablecloth or placemats, you’ll naturally eat about 5% less compared to a table set with contrasting colors.
To save calories in the kitchen, put your olive oil in a spray bottle. If you spritz versus pour, you will use a little less when cooking.
Are you hungry after your morning bowl of cereal? Try adding some healthy fat to your meal for satiety. Top your cereal with
2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds.
View Recipe: Three-Grain Breakfast Cereal with Walnuts and Dried Fruit
The bigger the glass, the larger the pour and the more calories consumed. Buy 6-ounce glasses for your juice in the morning instead of your typical 12-ounce glass.
Two handfuls of nuts may be heart-healthy, but also calorie-heavy. Downsize the 2 handfuls (1 1/2 oz) of nuts by half, and add a handful of air-popped popcorn and whole-wheat cereal, such as Chex.
Just because it is a “100-calorie” pack doesn’t mean it is healthy. Make sure it offers fiber, protein, and possibly healthy fat. If not, skip it. Check out these 10 Snack Mix Recipes that kids and adults will both love.
When it comes to your health, stop worrying about what you did yesterday and start focusing on what you are doing now.
Instead of filling your mouth with food at parties, try filling it with conversation.
Love the creaminess of mayonnaise? For a healthier alternative, try using hummus or low-fat plain Greek yogurt while making
your favorite tuna, egg, or chicken salad.
View Recipe: Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches
To increase your fruit and veggie intake, don’t put them in a drawer in the refrigerator but rather on a shelf at eye level. The more you see them, the more likely you will be to grab for them.
To lower fat and calories in pizza by around half, swap mozzarella for part-skim ricotta. Make it an opportunity for vitamins
and minerals by loading up on the veggies.
View Recipe: Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
When dining out, be the first one to order. You’ll be less likely to change your mind after hearing what others are having.
Next time you order a meaty meal, ask the server if the portion can be cut to 4 or 6 ounces. Normal servings in restaurants
are 8 to 12 ounces, twice the amount needed at a sitting. A 4-ounce portion of beef is shown in this delicious recipe.
View Recipe: Balsamic-Glazed Filet Mignon
Drink an 8-ounce glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning to rev up your metabolism. Your body is parched after 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
Less effort in the AM means you’re more likely you'll rise for that early morning workout!
Try almond milk in your coffee. Not only will it add a sweet, nutty flavor without sugary syrups, you’ll save a gram of saturated fat compared to low-fat milk.
Interval workouts prevent boredom and burn more calories. Try this 20-minute interval routine: 2-minute walk, 1-minute jog, 3-minute walk, 2-minute jog, 5-minute walk, 4-minute run, 3-minute walk—and burn about 200 calories.
Make it a goal to read one fitness or nutrition article each day. Studies show those who expose themselves to information develop a natural inclination to act on the advice. Read some of Cooking Light's great fitness articles.
Studies show you’ll eat about 20-22% less calories per meal simply switching from a 12-inch to 10-inch plate.
Read the label on breakfast cereals and follow this advice: Less than 10 grams of sugar, 1 serving of whole grains (16g), more than 3 of grams fiber, and less than 200 calories per serving. Here are our picks for The Best Healthy Cereals.
Indulge in 2 satisfying squares of dark chocolate (we like 72% cacao!). Skip the milk chocolate candy bar.
A Japanese study found that faster eaters gained an average of 4.2 pounds over 8 years, while slower eaters gained only 1.5 pounds.
Light stimulates the brain, making you more awake and less likely to sleep.
Keep your workout shoes next to your bed. Lace them up before your feet touch the floor in the morning and get a move on.
Potassium is important for healthy blood pressure, but most people don’t get enough. Include potassium-rich potatoes, bananas,
and oranges in your snacking. Try mixing up a potassium-rich smoothie like this one.
View Recipe: Orange-Banana Smoothie
Studies show that petting a dog or cat can immediately elevate your mood.
Almonds are bursting with vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system, and also contain B vitamins to help keep your body on track when it's under stress.
Next time you’re stressed, relax and reset. Take 5 deep, slow breaths—breathing in for 4 seconds through your nose and out for 8 to 10 seconds through your mouth.
Eat protein and fiber in every meal and snack. It will help you feel fuller longer and maintain a more stable blood sugar level, which translates to less fatigue and fewer food cravings. Lean meat is high in protein, along with these Vegetarian Protein Sources.
While pulp-free juice may be smoother, consider juicing the whole fruit instead—you’ll get more fiber and less sugar and calories.
Go vegetarian one day a week. For an easy substitution in a stir fry, use 1/2 cup cubed tofu (marinated in soy sauce, garlic,
ginger, and peanut oil) instead of chicken. Cook as usual with your veggies for a satisfying dinner.
View Recipe: Ginger-Scented Corn and Asparagus Stir-Fry
Typical shoppers spend 60 to 80% of their time pushing their carts up and down aisles aimlessly, buy up to twice as much (and more of the unhealthy choices) compared to those who shop with a list and stick to it.
A recent study by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that women are more likely to stick to an exercise program if they listen to music.
Research shows L-theanine, an amino acid in tea, reduces feelings of stress and increases relaxation.
Hydration tip: Put a bottle of water by your bedside at night so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning, reminding you to drink up.
Not eating enough fruit? Try having a piece before your lunch instead of afterwards. You are less likely to skip it and more likely to get full from your meal.
Peruse buffets first without your plate, and then decide what you really want. Our video on Holiday Party Buffet Strategies can help you navigate buffets better.
The juice from the tomatoes moistens the salad, lessening the need for lots of salad dressing. Make sure to specify dressing
on the side too, so you can control the amount that goes on.
View Recipe: Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad
Keep a container of chopped cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes in the fridge for snacking. When they are easily accessible and already chopped, you are more likely to grab them for snacks.
When baking cookies or brownies, save a couple to have at home, then give the rest away to coworkers or friends to munch on too. Check out our Healthy Baking ideas to find inspiration.
Getting a new pair of workout pants or a cool water bottle can motivate you to be active.
Fried food lover? Master the art of faux frying. Coat veggies and meat with whipped eggs, then dip in cornmeal, flour, or
panko breadcrumbs and bake.
View Recipe: Parmesan-Coated Potato Wedges
We prioritize work, meals, and family time every day. Schedule time in your day for a run or gym visit too.
Nix the bacon; use smoked paprika instead to get that smoke-infused taste.
Rev up the veggies in you next pasta dish, hassle-free. Simply toss in broccoli or green beans with boiling pasta during the
last two minutes of cooking.
View Recipe: Penne with Asparagus, Spinach, and Bacon
Get excited about seafood by making your own yummy spice rub. Paprika + garlic powder + chili powder + cumin + salt and pepper
is a good blend to start with.
View Recipe: Maple-Glazed Salmon
Look for lower-sodium lunchmeat at deli counters and in the prepackaged section of the market. Roast beef is usually lower-sodium than other deli meats.
Stock up on non-sauced frozen stir-fry veggie bags, such as Birds Eye. You can control the sodium levels and make a quick,
View Recipe: Tempeh and Broccolini Stir-Fry
Turn a variety of salads—whole grain, green bean, potato—into a main dish by adding shredded rotisserie chicken.
View Recipe: Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
If you love creamy dressings, consider switching to yogurt-based ranch or blue cheese, such as Bolthouse Farms brand. Find
these dressings in the refrigerated aisles, next to the veggies. You can also try your hand at making you own.
View Recipe: Four-Herb Green Goddess Dressing
To cook healthy in a flash, try cooking with baby vegetables. They are more tender and small than full-grown veggies and cook
View Recipe: Braised Chicken with Baby Vegetables and Peas
Combine some low-fat milk or yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen berries, and a banana for a supereasy blended breakfast—and 2 whole fruit
View Recipe: Berry and Banana Smoothies
Work in more veggies early in the day by adding peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or onions to your eggs for a delicious omelet. For more ideas, read 6 Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast.
Create a weekly meal plan and grocery list on Sunday—it can be a huge time saver and a good way to eat healthier. Feeling really energetic? Do all your grocery buying on Sunday too.
Catch up on household chores. Gardening, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, and washing the car all burn calories and will make your life more clean and organized.
We get it. Not everyone gets excited when they look at a plate of raw vegetables. But pair them with a nutty hummus, zesty
ranch, creamy avocado, and fiery salsa and now we’re talking.
View Recipe: Black Bean Hummus
Make sure that fruit is the base of your smoothie creation—too much fruit juice can rapidly add calories without providing
any of the heart-healthy and digestive-friendly fiber that you get from the fruit itself.
View Recipe: Pineapple Piña Colada
Don’t cheat yourself on the dressing. Be moderate, but be tasteful. A few splashes of a good, heart-healthy canola- or olive-oil
based dressings can do wonders to that bed of greens.
View Recipe: Classic Vinaigrette
Alternate your greens from the normal Romaine or iceberg. For general rule of thumb, the darker the greens the more nutrient rich they are. Check out our Guide to Greens for some tasty ideas!
On a budget? Check the weekly specials at your local grocery store and choose one of the items on special that week. The specials often reflect the abundance of certain seasonal produce.
If there is a local farmers' market nearby, support your community and pay them a visit. Get the whole family involved. Allow either yourself or a family member to choose a new item from the produce section and add it to your meal.
Puree cooked cauliflower, winter squash, or red peppers and stir them into sauces, mashed potatoes, pot pies, or even mac
View Recipe: Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese
In soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and casseroles, most recipes call for a certain amount of vegetables. Our advice?
Double the amount called for in the original recipe. You are already doing the prep work; so a little extra chopping can go
a long way for your vegetable intake.
View Recipe: Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Swap the 3½-inch bagel with 1 tablespoon each cream cheese and fruity jam for a whole-wheat English muffin topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter and fresh strawberry slices and save 100 calories.
Put a new twist on a breakfast standby with Ricotta-Pistachio Toast: Spread 2 tablespoons light ricotta cheese (we love Calabro’s part-skim) on crusty whole-grain bread. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over ricotta. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon crushed, dry-roasted, salted pistachios. Find more 200-Calorie Ideas for Toast here.
In-shell pistachios are a good low-cal source of protein, with a filling 6 grams of protein per ounce and only 100 calories
per 30-nut serving. Researchers have found that eating in-shell pistachios resulted in eating 41% less calories compared to
those who ate shelled nuts.
Find more about 5 Foods That Fight Fat.
With the perfect combo of slowly digested protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, lentils could be the ideal energy food.
Just one half cup of cooked lentils provides more protein than an egg and more than a quarter of your daily dose of fiber
for only 115 calories and practically zero fat.
View Recipe: Grilled Peppers and Lentil Salad
Find more Foods For All-Day Energy.
Don’t worry about waiting an hour to hit the gym after eating. Though a full belly (ideally with healthy choices to fuel your
workout) may not inspire the most vigorous workout, what matters is that you get moving.
Be a sugar sleuth and know how to ID sneaky names that food manufacturers use for added sugar. Words with “-oses” generally mean added sugars: sucrose, glucose, galactose, maltose, dextrose and fructose are all sugars.
A recent analysis by the USDA found that today’s eggs, on average, have 14% less cholesterol and 64% more vitamin D—a nutrient
everyone needs more of in winter.
Find new ways to enjoy eggs in our Top-Rated Egg Recipe collection.
An hour of winding down before bed relaxes your mind and readies it for sleep. Adults, like youngsters, benefit from a routine: Go to bed at around the same time, take a warm shower or bath, and turn off bright lights and screens.
When you sit down to eat, just eat. The experience is so much more vivid, so much better. Enjoy the bite you’re eating, focus on it, and finish it before you take the next. You enjoy it so much more, and you have much greater control of portion sizes.
Quick-frozen fruits and veggies—like berries, peas, and spinach—are nutritionally equal to fresh and may be better than many
produce items that travel far in winter, losing nutrients along the way.
When it comes to breakfast on the run, it can be hard to find one with plenty of protein that’s not also oozing with saturated
fat. Enter Starbuck's Protein Bistro Box, an energizing combo of fruit, peanut butter, a hard cooked egg, and multigrain muesli
Find more on-the-go breakfasts in The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfasts
If pizza is your choice for movie night, the frozen aisle has lots of healthier options. And they’re easy to jazz up with extra toppings. Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Supreme Pizza surprisingly fits the bill with 1/3 of a pizza with only 320 calories. Find Healthy Frozen Pizzas that are low-cal and yummy.
If your end goal is to lose weight, focus only on what you can do that day—not the daunting final goal. For more mindful eating tips, check out our Healthy Habits hero, Susan Albers, PsyD.