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11 Ways to Actually Eat Healthier in the New Year

Photo: Jacek Chabraszewski (Shutterstock)

Photo: Jacek Chabraszewski (Shutterstock)

If your resolution is to eat healthy in the new year, please don’t hop into any crash diets or misguided detoxes. Here are some of our best tips, articles, and in-depth guides about how to eat healthy in a way that’s actually good for your body and mind.

There is no “best” diet

Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich (Shutterstock)

Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich (Shutterstock)

Around this time, your friends will be trying to convince you that the diet they’re on is the best one. Cut out all sugar, they’ll plead. Or do the mediterranean diet with them. But there’s no such thing as a “best” diet, no matter how many times US News and World Report keeps trying to rank them. The best diet for you is whatever keeps you full and healthy, and it’s OK if that’s not a structure with rules and a recognizable name.

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If you want a detox, you actually want something else

Photo: Inna Dodor (Shutterstock)

Photo: Inna Dodor (Shutterstock)

Detoxes and cleanses don’t actually cleanse or detoxify anything—but you probably knew that. If you like the idea of ​​getting a fresh start, of finding more energy, or of not cooking for a week, please take a look at our guide that will help you find other ways of scratching those particular itches. For example, if you’re looking forward to having better skin from being well-hydrated during a juice cleanse, maybe what you actually want is to treat yourself to a new moisturizer.

Don’t worry about whether the food is organic

Photo: Dmytro Dzhyrma (Shutterstock)

Photo: Dmytro Dzhyrma (Shutterstock)

Somehow “organic” has gotten confused with “healthy” in the popular consciousness, but they’re not the same thing. Organic food is required to be grown under certain rules that have arguably good effects on the environment, like the types of pesticides used. Organic meats and animal products also have slightly stricter animal welfare requirements than conventional foods. But there’s no evidence that organic foods are any more (or less) healthy to eat than conventional ones.

Don’t try to figure out which foods are “clean”

Photo: Iryna Pohrebna (Shutterstock)

Photo: Iryna Pohrebna (Shutterstock)

“Clean eating” sounds appealing, but the term “clean” is just a buzzword that various gurus and influencers like to weaponize. Sometimes it means expensive food. Sometimes it means food that fits a specific, restrictive diet. The world of food is not easily divided into “clean” and “dirty,” and the word basically means nothing.

How to create a calorie deficit

Photo: Sea Wave (Shutterstock)

Photo: Sea Wave (Shutterstock)

Often “eating healthy” is a code word for losing weight. We’ll be blunt with you here: There are no special foods or habits or exercises that will target your belly fat or have any specific, aesthetic benefits on your appearance—not even if you invoke the words “gut health.” If what you want is to lose weight (or lose fat) that process is boring and straightforward, although that’s not to say that it’s necessarily easy or reliable. We lay out the nuts and bolts of the calorie deficit here. If this is your actual goal, get right to it instead of hoping that weight loss will occur as a side effect of some vague wellness goal.

How to make lazy meals that are still healthy

Photo: Edward Fielding (Shutterstock)

Photo: Edward Fielding (Shutterstock)

We love the EatCheap and Healthy subreddit, for obvious reasons. Here is a roundup of several meal ideas that are cheap, healthy and lazy—things you can assemble quickly, with little to no prep work and sometimes no actual cooking.

Do more than one iota of research

Photo: Pheelings media (Shutterstock)

Photo: Pheelings media (Shutterstock)

Sometimes you’ll see a shocking fact, and it will change your world view. But if you saw that fact on a contextless meme, please do at least a teensy bit of fact checking. We have a rundown here of several of the most meme-able nutrition facts that turn out to be untrue or misleading.

Eat some vegetables

Photo: Giampaolo Nitti (Shutterstock)

Photo: Giampaolo Nitti (Shutterstock)

One of the easiest ways to eat healthy is simply to add more fruits and vegetables to our diets. I can say that with confidence because studies have shown that 88% of us don’t meet the USDA guidelines for how many servings of vegetables we should eat each day. Even if you’re not getting two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables per day, you can probably get one serving closer to the goal, don’t you think? Add that in before you start worrying about the particulars of which vegetables are the healthiest.

Give yourself a non-calorie goal

Photo: PR Image Factory (Shutterstock)

Photo: PR Image Factory (Shutterstock)

Besides eating more vegetables, how about eating more fiber, getting more lean protein, or eating less sugar? These are all good ways to eat healthier (and we have even more ideas) without counting calories or weighing yourself.

How to eat healthy in a world filled with processed food

Illustration: Vicky Leta

Illustration: Vicky Leta

If you’re trying to avoid processed food, or if you’re simply aware that processed food doesn’t always have the nutrition you’re looking for, read our guide on how to eat healthy in a world filled with processed food. And here’s a secret: Processed isn’t always a bad thing! Some of the best “processed” foods are things that actually make it easier to eat healthy.

Learn the difference between healthy food and diet food

Photo: Jacek Chabraszewski (Shutterstock)

Photo: Jacek Chabraszewski (Shutterstock)

Food intended for weight loss tends to be food that is low in calories, carbs, or fat—in other words, food without much food in it. But eating healthy is a different project than eating less. And once you accept that, you’ll realize that you have tons of options for food that is tasty as well as healthy. You can put a rich dressing on your salad, and still get all the benefits of the vitamins and fiber in the salad greens. You can have chicken thighs instead of breasts. You can eat potatoes without worrying about whether the potatoes are “clean” enough. It’s all just food, you might as well find some that you enjoy.

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