Whether you’re making easy New Year’s Eve resolutions or putting them on the back burner this year, January is a great time of year to set new, healthy goals for you and your family. Maybe you want to prioritize healthy eating habits, get your picky eaters to try new foods, or cut sugar. Although new habits take time to stick, there are healthy eating hacks that will make achieving your goals much easier.
HEALTHY EATING HACKS FOR 2021
These 10 healthy eating hacks for the new year will make eating healthy easier.
1. MAKE A LIST
Without a grocery list, it’s easy to be tempted by processed foods and convenience foods that can easily derail your goal to eat better.
You may also end up buying too much food that goes to waste or find yourself resorting to unhealthy takeout when your refrigerator becomes empty mid-week.
Before you head to the grocery store, try to have a rough meal plan for the week and make a list of the foods and ingredients you’ll need—be sure to grab my free printable.
Or consider a meal planning service like The Dinner Daily that provides personalized meal plans based on your food preferences and can help you save money and time. Read my honest review of the service here.
2. PREP AHEAD
If you can carve out an hour or two on the weekends to wash, prep, and store your fruits and vegetables, it will save you a ton of time during the week.
3. TAKE SHORTCUTS
One of the best healthy eating hacks for the New Year is to put aside perfection and take shortcuts.
Buying pre-chopped ingredients may cost a bit more, but if doing so means you’re able to make healthy meals faster, then it’s totally worth it.
Most grocery stores have pre-chopped mirepoix, garlic, cauliflower “rice,” spiraled vegetables, and shredded Brussels sprouts that can shave off a ton of time making healthy meals.
4. RELY ON FROZEN FOODS
Many types of frozen, microwave meals are high in calories, sodium, and trans fat and low in fiber and overall nutrition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your freezer to get a healthy dinner on the table.
Make large batches of stews, soups, bean burgers, and casseroles, or double a recipe that can be frozen and reheated.
Also, stock your freezer with quick and easy options like frozen shrimp, vegetables, and peas that can be used in several different meals.
Frozen fruit can also be used in smoothies, added to yogurt, or served as dessert.
5. BATCH COOK
Between running my business, distance learning, taking care of my kids and everything else, batch cooking has allowed me to get dinner on the table (almost) every night.
On Sunday and a few times throughout the week, I make large batches of vegetables, rice, quinoa, lentils, beans, and hard-boiled eggs that can be used for healthy school lunches and dinners throughout the week.
6. STOCK YOUR PANTRY WITH CANNED FOODS
With people stockpiling food, making fewer trips to the grocery store, and trying to eat healthy on a budget, 2020 was the year of canned foods.
The good news is that when it comes to healthy eating hacks for the new year, canned food can be a great way to save time and eat well.
Canned salmon, tuna, sardines, and beans are all healthy, easy, and versatile options that can be paired with a salad or cooked vegetables.
7. MAKE SHEET PAN MEALS
When you’re rushing to get dinner on the table, you need fast, fuss-free meals.
Instead of using multiple pots and pans and making meals that require different cooking methods, make sheet pan meals.
Choose your vegetables, meat, fish, or plant-based sources of protein, and roast everything together to cut down on cooking and clean-up time.
Related: How To Eat Plant-Based on a Budget
8. USE YOUR APPLIANCES
Cooking healthy meals can be time-consuming especially if you have to chop vegetables or wait for the rice to cook
9. DON’T COOK—ASSEMBLE
Don’t like to cook? No problem. You don’t have to use a single appliance to pull together healthy meals.
Instead, assemble pre-washed bagged salad or try a salad kit and add grilled chicken, tuna fish, hard-boiled eggs or beans and a healthy fat like avocado for a quick, easy, no-brainer meal.
10. RETHINK DESSERT
Bribing kids with dessert to eat their dinner may be effective, but it puts a sour taste in their mouths—so to speak.
When kids are told they’ll get dessert if they eat the healthy stuff, a tactic Dina Rose, Ph.D., author of It’s Not About The Broccoli calls the “dessert deal,” it teaches them that dessert is more desirable than their meal.
A workaround is to let your kids have dessert but consider offering dessert choices that you can live with.
In our family, dessert is usually fresh fruit but it can also be dried fruit, yogurt, or a homemade muffin, for example.
[VIDEO] Is Dried Fruit Healthy For Kids?