Setting a New Year’s resolution is a tradition for many people. Unfortunately, breaking those resolutions also seems to be a tradition. If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, here are some tips to help you to be successful.

A close up of January 1st circled to start eating healthier.

Photo Credit: Terri Keith, UF/IFAS Extension

First, you will be more likely to follow through on your resolution by setting a SMART goal. A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed. You can find more information on setting a SMART goal here.

Second, know that eating healthier doesn’t necessarily mean going on a diet or avoiding all the foods you enjoy. Eating healthier can start with making simple substitutions to your favorite recipes, like using whole wheat pasta instead of refined grain pasta, or swapping out sodas and energy drinks for water or other unsweetened beverages. It could mean that you make a conscious effort to enjoy the foods that aren’t as healthy for you in moderation or work on lowering the amount of sodium/salt that you eat. There are many ways to eat healthier and if you need more suggestions, you can check out this article on 5 things to avoid eating.

Whether you are starting with simple steps or looking for more in-depth information, ChooseMyPlate from the USDA can be a useful resource. There, you can find information on daily recommended values for the different food groups, what counts as a serving, along with other resources, like recipes or healthy eating on a budget. You might be surprised to find out what counts as a serving!

Third, try involving your kids or other members of your household in working together to eat healthier. There’s even a section at ChooseMyPlate that focuses on healthier eating for families. It can be harder to stick with your resolution if you are the only one working on it because your shopping list can end up including more sweetened snacks than fruits and vegetables. If you need some inspiration to get started, you can find a few videos of recipes that were adapted from ChooseMyPlate here.

Eating healthier is a terrific goal any time of the year. If this is your New Year’s resolution, follow these tips and stick with it!

Terri Keith