Easy Ways to Eat Healthier in the New Year

When the New Year comes around, improving personal health is often a top priority. One of the easiest ways to get started with healthy living is by making small changes to your diet. But what sort of changes are really worth it? Should you be counting calories? Eating smaller portion sizes? Skipping dessert?

While you can do all the above, here at Meatless Monday, we take a food-first approach to healthier eating and believe that the best way to start a healthy eating habit is by adding nutritious plant-based foods and recipes to your repertoire in place of meat. And research shows that Monday is the best day of the week to start a new healthy routine.

The list below includes a lot of cooking tips and simple recipes, but it also offers different ways to reimagine your relationship with animal products. More often than not, a person can recreate the desirable characteristics of meat and dairy (texture, taste, mouthfeel), using only plant-based ingredients. By learning more about the ins and outs of plant-based cooking, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier New Year.


Go Meatless Monday

It might sound like a no brainer coming from us, but practicing Meatless Monday really is a quick-and-easy way to eat more plant-based foods. By dedicating one day a week to experimenting with different fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains, you can slowly introduce yourself and your family to a variety recipes and ingredients that are better for your health. Our Meatless Monday Challenge is a great way to start, but you can also peruse our recipe library for endless plant-based inspiration.

Learn to Cook Tofu

Tofu is an incredibly versatile ingredient and an excellent source of plant-based protein. It comes in a variety of different forms, ranging from soft silken tofu to extra firm blocks. The problem with tofu is that a lot of people don’t know how to cook it. Using our tofu tips, you can quickly turn this humble ingredient into many of your favorite comfort foods, like pasta Alfredo, Buffalo wings, or even a silky-smooth dessert.

Satisfy Meat Cravings with Plant-Based Ingredients

A common reason people cite for not eating more vegetables, legumes, and grains is that they crave meat. But when you break down the qualities that make meat appealing to the average diner—the taste, the chew, the sizzle—you’ll quickly realize that these attributes can be recreated with only plant-based ingredients. By using things like umami-rich foods, different seasoning blends, ingredients with chewy textures, and packaged meat-alternatives, you can really cut down on your consumption of animal products without losing the essence of meat.

Bring on the Beans

Beans are rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, but they’re also inexpensive, really tasty, and a breeze to prepare. And for a lot of recipes, you can swap out the sausage, ground meat, or meatballs with beans. The Meatless Monday Bean Resource Center is a helpful tool that outlines the nutritional benefits of beans, as well as offers recipes and cooking tips for making your bean dishes taste delicious. You can also check out our top 10 favorite bean recipes for additional inspiration.

Use the Half-Plate Method

Making half of your dinner plate vegetables is a simple way to remember to eat more plant-based foods. Vegetables have a bad rap, but they can be so delicious when prepared properly. And you don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen, either. We have a cool little guide to help you make any vegetable taste delicious. If you’re looking for specific recipes, we also have available a list of the best meatless dishes for people who want to eat more vegetables.

Prep Your Pantry

Every food item will eventually go bad, but there are many plant-based foods that offer a terrific value, can be prepared in big batches, and have an incredibly long shelf-life. And they should definitely be in your pantry (or freezer). It might sound simplistic, but the reality is, if these foods are always readily available, then you’re more likely to eat them. Ingredients like oats, canned beans and tomatoes, whole grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, pasta, peanut butter, and polenta are all great things to have on hand.

Experiment with Plant-Based Products

Whether you’re buying them in the supermarket or making them at home, it’s a good idea to experiment with plant-based meats and dairy products if you’re looking to eat healthier in the new year. You can recreate a number of different animal-products like bacon, jerky, beef, burgers or dairy products using only plant-based ingredients.

Make Big Batches

Cooking is a joy, but making every meal from scratch can get tedious, not to mention time consuming. And that’s where big-batch cooking comes in. We’ve created a list of plant-based recipes that are well suited for families (and leftovers). These dishes don’t require a lot of preparation, are easy to scale up, and are hearty, nutritious, and filling.


For a refresher, check out our Get Started with Meatless Monday resource center and remember when posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.