Happy New Year! Now's the time where many folks like to get a fresh start, and with these simple tips, eating and living healthier can be just a little bit easier. Overhauling your diet is a hard thing to do, but if you want to ease into the habits of healthy eating, these tips are a great place to start.

Reduce butter and oils in your baked goods by substituting pureed fruits.

Everyone has a sweet tooth. When your craving for dessert strikes, try baking healthier by swapping out 50% or more of your butters and oils with unsweetened applesauce, pureed avocados, or other soft fruits and veggies! The texture remains the same (in some cases, it's even moister than it would be otherwise), and oftentimes the taste is enhanced too!

Apple Bundt Cake from I Adore FoodApple Bundt Cake

Choose whole grains over refined.

Refined grains, like the flour used to make white bread, is not nearly as rich in the essential fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients that whole grains are. The processing strips it of the healthy fiber-dense bran and nutrient-rich germ that its whole grain counterparts retain. Forgoing white rice for brown rice, white bread for whole-wheat, and plain pasta for whole grain is not that hard of a jump, and will make you much healthier in the long run. (For more ways to switch whole grains, check out ChooseMyPlate.gov).

"Photo by Blake Royer"

Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower from Serious EatsCauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Eat more colorfully.

Instead of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon - all shades of gold and brown - try topping your flap jacks with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Adding more color to your meal means you'll eat at least a few healthy fruits and veggies throughout the day, and you'll have a much more attractive meal!

"Photo by James Carrier"

Grilled Salmon Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette from My RecipesGrilled Salmon Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Start off your meals with soups and salads.

Enjoying water and fiber-rich foods takes the edge off of your hunger, and studies show that people who start a meal with these types of food eat about 12 - 20% less afterward on average than those who skip it. Go with a healthy broth-based vegetable soup or fresh green salad in order to maximize the benefits.

"Photo by Romulo Yanes"

Zucchini Basil Soup from EpicuriousZucchini Basil Soup

Don't forgo the treat, just make it occasional.

Food is about enjoyment too! Feel free to eat out, but try keep it to once or twice a week. Have your delicious full-fat ice cream, but limit it to one scoop and savor it. Portion out your family-sized bags of snacks so that you don't keep absentmindedly reaching in while you watch movies at home. Treat yourself to your favorite foods every now and again! That's half the fun.

Black Raspberry and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from Naturally EllaBlack Raspberry and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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