5 Ways to Eat Better in the New Year — Without Superpowers

We are constantly reminded to make a million better food choices: No fast food, no processed food, low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie, eat local, buy organic, five servings of veg a day, less meat, more raw.

On top of that, you’re supposed to exercise more, dress better, be a better parent, “take time for you”, advance your career, and basically be a superhuman all the time.

A person cannot do all these things. And yet, with New Year’s resolutions, we’re all going to try!

Many of us will make broad declarations to give up red meat, quit bread altogether, or munch only on carrots for the rest of eternity. But how many times have you managed to actually keep these resolutions beyond a few weeks?

This year, focus on easy changes that might actually stick with you past January. Even small changes can make a drastic improvement to your diet if they become good long-term habits.

Here are 5 simple ways to eat better now, without superpowers:

1.  Read the labels of the five foods you eat most often. Throw out and stop buying the most appalling one. Replace it with a healthier food.  Do this occasionally.

2.  At a restaurant, place your napkin over your food when you’re full. You won’t mindlessly pick at the remaining food and the waiter will take it away, saving you from yourself.

3.  Stop drinking soda. Start drinking water, tea, or small amounts of fruit juice mixed with carbonated water. You will eliminate a lot of calories (or fake sugar) and loads of chemicals.

4.  Trade your 200-500 calorie Starbucks sugar bomb for a drip coffee with a tablespoon of half-and-half and a teaspoon of sugar.  The real cream and sugar will only add up to 40 calories.

5.  Buy the best produce you can and display it on a nice platter or cake stand on your kitchen island. Hide all visible junk food in the pantry. You’ll eat and cook what you see, and you’ll have to look the fresh veg in the face before ordering pizza.

Don’t stress out about magically changing your entire diet on Jan. 1. You know big changes like that rarely stick anyway. Small, incremental changes might actually be lasting changes.

I’d love to hear more suggestions.  Please comment!


8 responses to “5 Ways to Eat Better in the New Year — Without Superpowers

  1. jasony

    great idea, Darla. Erin and I gave up (mostly) carbonated drinks a few years ago and I dropped 25lbs in just a few months. And my teeth didn’t hurt all the time.



  2. flip

    Food never have elaborate labels. e.g. cheese: milk, yeast. whole wheat pasta: whole wheat wheat. canned tomatoes: tomatoes. etc.

    NB Oreos are not food.

  3. Jen

    Hi, Darla!

    I write for the Cabot Cheese blog and wondered if I could re-publish (or link to) this entry? These are such simple, great rules that I’d love to share with our readers.

    Thanks, and feel free to contact me directly.


  4. darla

    Jason: whoa. 25lbs?!? If I cut out wine and beer I’d probably make similar progress. (But there are some things not worth living without and wine is definitely one of them for me.)

  5. Thanks for the tips, Darla. Now this is something an ordinary person like me can do. Number 4 resonates: "Step away from the Starbucks!" Can’t tell you how many Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates I drink in a week. Not just a sugar bomb, but a SALTY sugar bomb!

  6. Lisa

    I find drinking a small glass of wine before dinner keeps me from gorging. And *that’s* a change I’m glad to make!

  7. IvyFoodSleuth

    Eat LOTS of crispy kale!!

  8. I found these tips very helpful. Thanks for posting this kind of thing!