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The Best Healthy Eating Tips For 2021, According to Dietitians

We asked six trusted registered dietitians to share their top nutrition suggestions for the new year.

Take in a deep breath, it's officially 2021. Can you believe we can actually say that now? Here's to a healthier, happier, and hopefully, more relaxed you.

To help you set your intentions for the year ahead, we asked six registered dietitians located all across the U.S. to share some tips on how you can employ healthy eating habits right now.

Below, you will see nine such suggestions and after, be sure to read the The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Say "no" to fad diets

Woman holding plate of keto foods at a table

"Especially as New Year's resolutions are underway, many often turn to fad and restrictive diets as a method to quickly see the results they desire. However, restriction often leads to bingeing, followed-by a continued restrict-binge cycle, leading to feelings of guilt. Research shows that calorie deprivation can put extra stress on the body. This year, try substituting intuitive eating and mindfulness for restriction. Focusing less on counting every calorie and more on your natural hunger and fullness cues will help you be more in-tune with your body and feel less out of control with food."

— Lauren Hoover, RD, MS at SHIFT in Chicago

Make your plate colorful…and balanced!


"Try to fill half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of your plate with whole grains (bread, pasta, rice), and one-quarter of your plate with protein (chicken, fish, eggs, beans)."

Sakiko Minagawa, MS, RD, LD

Choose one meal where no screens are involved

woman alone in kitchen looking at phone while eating

"Pick one meal a day to have without with screens. Eating in front of cell phones, TVs, and computers prevent us from fully savoring our meals. The distraction can cause you to overeat or disrupt the pace of your eating thus disrupting digestion."

Sydney Greene, MS, RD 

"We live in such a fast paced, go go go society. Try using one meal a day to relax and slow down and limit distractions like your phone, computer, and TV."

Ashley Kitchens, MPH, RD, LDN

Strive to appreciate food by taking the time to savor it

talking while eating

"Practice making a deeper connection with the food that's in front of you and try engaging all your senses as you eat. This year, work toward building a confident and healthy relationship with food."

— Kitchens

Introduce more sugar swaps

Yogurt fruit berries

"Everyone talks about cutting sugar out of your diet, but that's deprivation and sets you up to fail. The better way is to do sugar swaps, meaning replace traditional sweets with options that have less sugar, but still tons of enjoyment."

— Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD

Blatner shared a few helpful examples:

  • Swap regular chocolate to brands like Lily's Sweets for a no-added-sugar version
  • Swap ice cream to nice cream made with frozen bananas for a natural sugar fix
  • Swap sweetened yogurt to plain yogurt topped with mashed fresh berries
  • Swap condiments to no-added-sugar versions like salad dressings, pasta sauce, and ketchup
  • Swap classic plant milks to the unsweetened versions

For more sugar swaps, check out 10 Easy Ways to Eat Less Sugar From a Celebrity Nutritionist.

Stock up on frozen veggies

separated frozen vegetables in bags

"This is a quick and simple way to eat more veggies by eliminating the task of washing, peeling, or chopping. Not a fan of kale? A simple vegetable blend is a great option and can be enjoyed as a side dish or added to a soup. The Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables are especially handy on those busy days as they can be simply heated right in the bag and served."

Kasia Burton MS, RDN, Principal Nutritionist, Conagra Brands Research and Development

Don't skip meals or "save calories"

small portion

"Eating balanced snacks and meals throughout the day can help you stay energized and avoid overeating. Try eating every three to four hours and avoid going long periods of time without fuel."

— Minagawa 

Listen to what's right for you and your body

happy woman laughing

"Silence all the noise. There's a lot of information and misinformation out there. Figure out what works best for you."

— Kitchens

Make it a point to try new recipes

snacking while cooking

"Challenge yourself to learn one new recipe per week. Rotate between healthful and indulgent recipes to boost your confidence in the kitchen and rely less on takeout."

— Greene

For more helpful tips, be sure to check out 7 Healthy Eating Habits For Women, Say Dietitians.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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