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New Year’s resolution time is here….. are you thinking of changing your eating behavior? With one search engine entry you can find almost 30 different diet recommendations. How do you figure out from this complex and vast amount of choices what is safe, what is effective, and what may fit YOUR needs? Also remember, any diet plans/supplements/packaged meals that promise you guaranteed and/or amazing results with little or no effort are usually NOT CREDIBLE and should be avoided. No health results can ever be guaranteed.

First identify what YOU are looking for.
To make it easier, my recommendations are divided into 3 groups, then the preferred diet recommendations are listed for each group.

1) You want to eat healthier.  No needed weight loss, but reaching a healthier weight is fine.

2) You want to lose 5 to 20 pounds, you’re healthy and do not have a problem of repeated weight loss and regain.

3) You want to lose 20, 40, or even more pounds. You have lost weight and over the following months to years have regained that weight. You may also have pre-hypertension, pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, or other medical concerns.

Group number one:
You want to eat healthier for yourself (and even have your whole family eating healthier). The smartest thing you can do is develop the skill of doing your own cooking, so you regain full control of what you are eating. Learn to read food labels so you will be able to avoid excess added sugar. Avoid many packaged “low-fat” foods because they contain similar calories as  “regular fat”, but the fat is often replaced with various sugars or sugar derivatives. This does not mean that all low-fat foods are bad. Lean meat and other lean proteins offer a healthier choice.
Cutting excess sugars out of your daily diet can be as easy as choosing a bagel over a donut, an apple over fruit juice, or plain iced coffee with a little sugar or sweetener over a “froppy mocha ecstasy” coffee drink.

Two well-known and proven healthy diets are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Both have been found to have excellent health benefits by multiple organizations.
Suggested sites to review:
DASH Diet is from the National Institute of Health (which is a fantastic US government source for basic fact-based health information).
Mediterranean Diet is outlined on Healthline, which is a dietitian-based source that works to provide healthy, true and sound nutrition advice.

If your cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, don’t fret. Consider the following:
• Going online and watching videos, for example Rachael Ray is known for her show making simple home cooked meals with good short cuts.
Rachael Ray’s Website  or try a recipe such as: Rachael Ray’s Chicken & Dumplings

• Let someone else do the majority of the cooking for you. Meal preparation companies like Hello Fresh, Plated, or Blue Apron help people learn to make excellent tasting home cooked meals by honing down the full cooking process to just the final few steps. As you become more accomplished at cooking these meals, you will be able to cut out the middleman and cook all by yourself!