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The 13 New Year’s Resolutions Nutritionists Are Making for 2022

Here's how to make resolutions like a pro—and how to keep going past February!

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Resolutions that work

New Year, new resolutions—and if you’re like most people, it will include some goals for getting healthier. But 80 percent of resolutions fail by February, and it’s not just you and I that fall short; even the pros have a hard time sticking to their resolutions. What gives? A goal without a plan is just a wish, says Lindsey Kane, MS, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of nutrition at Sun Basket. “The good news is, there are some tried-and-true strategies for making good habits, the key to keeping your resolutions,” she explains. If you’re not sure exactly how that works, no worries.

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“I resolve to eat more mindfully”

Between our phones, TVs, and computers, we are bombarded with distractions during meal times. This can have serious negative health effects, leading you to choose less healthy foods and to mindlessly eat more than you need. The solution? Turning off devices and paying attention to your food, says Sara Patton, a registered dietitian at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center. “I am going to practice ‘intuitive eating’ which will help me become more in touch with my body’s needs—eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full,” she explains. “This includes planning to take my time with my meals and not eating in front of the TV or computer.”

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“I resolve to reduce my food waste”

How many times have you carefully packed away leftovers and then forgotten to eat them? Basbaum’s solution is to schedule a “plan-over” meal once a week where she uses leftovers to create a new, healthy meal. “For example, if I plan to cook a dinner of grilled chicken, broccoli and sweet potato one night, I will make extra grilled chicken and broccoli and turn it into a chicken broccoli penne pasta the next night,” she says. “I will have avoided wasting food and will save myself time in the process.”

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Chopped veggies in a line togetherSHEBEKO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to eat more plants”

Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods you can eat to enjoy better health now and in the future yet far too many of us fall short of the recommended five servings a day, and that even includes the pros. “My number one goal for the New Year is to include more plant-based foods in my diet,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet. One easy way to do that is to put a platter of fresh fruits and cut-up veggies on the counter so when hunger strikes, you’ll be ready with a healthy option.

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Healthy snacks in small piles beside each otherELENA VESELOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to snack better”

Nuts are full of satiating protein and fiber, and packed with nutrients, making them the ideal snack for people looking to improve their health, Batayneh says. But that’s easy to forget when you’re in a hurry and facing down a bag of chips or cookies. To make healthy snacking more convenient she plans to make snack bags ahead of time with a mix of pistachios, dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries. “That way when I get a craving for a sweet and savory snack (something I love!) I’ll have a healthy option right there,” she says.

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“I resolve to not beat myself up over treats”

Food is tied to a lot of complicated feelings for many people and this can lead to emotional eating. The trick to avoiding getting stuck in the trap of “eating your feelings” is to look at your food dispassionately, Patton says. “This year, if I want to eat something not so healthy, I will eat it and enjoy it instead of feeling bad about it,” she says. “I will then move on to whatever meal will be next in my day without criticizing my treat or punishing myself.” These lighter dessert recipes will help you keep your New Years’ resolution.

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Packed veggie-filled lunchesELENA VESELOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to bring lunch from home three times a week”

Bringing food from home, rather than eating out, is a great way to save money, control calories and make healthier food choices. But it’s easy to forget to make lunch during hectic mornings so to make sure she sticks to her goal, Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at UVA Health System, is planning ahead. “Mondays and Wednesdays are really busy so instead I’ll bring a packed lunch on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays,” she explains. “And since I’m an “early to bed and early to rise” girl, I will plan to prep my lunch in the mornings.” Managing to keep your resolutions can seem like a joke. These healthy lunch recipes will help keep you on track.

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Nuts in one bowl and jellybeans in the otherONE PIXEL STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to not go on a diet”

Going on a diet is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions but not for Jeanne Tiberio, a nutritionist and health coach in private practice. “‘Going on a diet’ carries the assumption that at some point you will be going off a diet which will result in frustration and regaining lost weight,” she says. Instead, this year she’s resolving to make one small healthy change every week to create better lifelong habits. “Eventually I want them to become second nature, so I make these healthier choices without even having to think about it,” she adds. This is what the best diet plans have in common.

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Healthy food selection with fruits, vegetables, seeds, superfood, cereals on gray backgroundALEXANDER RATHS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to eat less meat”

No one is saying you need to go full vegan but the truth is that all of us could stand to eat a little less meat—it’s not just better for your health but the health of the planet as well, Tiberio says. “I plan to make a vegetarian supper at least one or two days per week,” she says. For others who want to try this, she suggests starting with foods that you are already accustomed to eating so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

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Slow-cooker minestrone soupTaste of Home

“I resolve to find new ways to eat fruits and veggies”

Wintertime, especially in the Northeast where Tiberio lives, isn’t exactly prime time for juicy peaches or crisp green beans—but that doesn’t mean you should slack off on eating produce. The trick is to buy your favorite fruits and veggies frozen and then use them in smoothies or soups. Frozen produce is just as healthy, and sometimes even healthier, than fresh. And if you’re worried about forgetting that bag of berries buried in your freezer, steal this trick from Tiberio: “I like to put a sticky note on my refrigerator to remind me that the fruits are in there,” she says. These storage tricks will help all your food last longer.

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Vegan taco saladTaste of Home

“I resolve to try new healthy recipes”

Getting stuck in a meal rut can lead to, at best, boring meals, and, at worst, ordering out a lot. That’s why this year Tiberio has decided to try a new recipe each week. “I’m going to pull out a recipe book and tag recipes that I want to make,” she says. And to make sure she has no excuses for not following through and making them, she says she plans to make a project out of printing healthy recipes and putting them on her table so she can reference them when she makes her grocery list. Here are some easy meal prep ideas you’ll actually use.

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Red apples or Gala apples with fresh leaf and water drop on wooden background.PosiNote/Shutterstock

“I resolve to help others improve their nutrition”

Already got your nutrition on lock? Help others learn healthy habits and increase access to good foods in your community. “I made a different goal for each month of 2020 related to things I am going to do to help promote community nutrition,” Tiberio says. For example, three of her goals are planting two apple trees with a local school, writing her senator about increasing funding for community gardens and donating healthy food to the local food pantry.

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“I resolve to eat more nutrient-dense foods”

You can be overfed and yet still undernourished—a phenomenon that happens when you eat a lot of junk food that is full of calories but empty of vitamins and nutrients. To make sure she’s getting everything she needs, Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, healthy cooking expert and nutrition partner with GOED, plans to maximize one meal a day. “In 2020, I’ll be focusing on eating meals that carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients per serving,” she says. One example is salmon paired with kale and bok choy. “I’ll be getting lots of healthy fats, potassium, vitamin C and fiber,” she says. Check out these healthy foods that will make you feel fuller for longer.

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Hand holding capsules pills white on wooden background.GUSTAVOMELLOSSA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I resolve to take a multivitamin every day”

Vitamins are one way you can make sure you’re meeting your daily quota of nutrients, especially if your diet is less than stellar, Bannan says. “Getting all of the nutrients I need from food can sometimes be difficult so in 2020 I’m resolving to taking my vitamins daily,” she says. “To make sure I stick with it, I’m going to always have vitamin D and fish oil supplements stocked at home and I’m moving them to the kitchen counter. Seeing them whenever I head in for a snack will be a helpful visual reminder to take them.”

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest