Eating healthy is hard. Sugary treats lurk at every store counter and supermarket shelf, tempting you to break your New Year’s resolution and slip back into unhealthy eating habits. As the new year begins, we all try to improve the way we eat, our fitness practices, and our healthy habits. But it isn’t enough to head to the gym once a week and avoid candy bars at the checkout line; instead, those who want to see real change in the coming year need to make significant changes to their lifestyles. Here, I provide a few tips and tricks for sticking to a healthy diet.


Leave Junk Food at the Store

If a bag of chips is sitting on the pantry shelf, you’ll probably end up chomping through it. Take temptation out of your daily life by keeping your cupboards clear of unhealthy snacks. When you visit the grocery store, pick out a few healthy snacks and avoid making impulse treat purchases in the grocery line. If you do so, you’ll have nutritious snack options at home and will be able to keep up your energy without relying on unhealthy treats.


Plan Ahead

Try not to leave food preparation to the last minute! Odds are, you won’t feel like investing an hour or more in cooking during the working week, so it’s best to have a meal plan already in place. Take some time during the weekend to pull together a few simple recipes for that week’s meals. With a little planning, you can have all of your ingredients pre-chopped, sorted, and portioned for each day. This strategy also helps you cut down on food costs and waste, and prevents you from falling back on takeout on lazy nights.


Make Health a Family Priority

Healthy habits start early! Involving children in food preparation will not only help them gain a better understanding of what constitutes a “healthy” meal, but will also aid in their development of nutritious eating habits. Plus, picky kids will be more likely to eat their suppers if they helped prepare the meal themselves!


Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Take time for a protein-packed breakfast in the morning! Eating a proper meal early in the day will help you gain energy for the day and prevent you from snacking too much in between meals. If you have children, encourage them to get into a regular habit of eating breakfast before school as a way of starting a productive day.


Treat Yourself

No one needs to be perfectly nutritious all the time. Having a treat such as ice cream, pizza, or chocolate once a week is perfectly okay!