Twelve tips for healthier eating in 2012

Carolyn Schatz

Former Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

If healthier eating is on your list of resolutions for 2012, look no further. The January 2012 issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch offers 12 ways to break old dietary habits and build new ones.

For many years, nutrition research focused on the benefits and risks of single nutrients, such as cholesterol, saturated fat, and antioxidants. Today, many researchers are exploring the health effects of foods and eating patterns, acknowledging that there are many important interactions within and among nutrients in the foods we eat.

The result is a better understanding of what makes up a healthy eating plan. Here are five food- or meal-based ways to improve your diet that we list in the article (you can see all 12 on the Harvard Health website):

Pile on the vegetables and fruits. Their high fiber, mineral, and vitamin content make fruits and vegetables a critical component of any healthy diet. They’re also the source of beneficial plant chemicals not found in other foods or supplements.

Go for the good fats. Polyunsaturated fat, including vegetable oils and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, seeds, nuts, and canola oil), as well as monounsaturated fat (avocados, olive oil, and canola oil), are good for health, even more so when you eat them in place of saturated fats.

Replace refined grains and potatoes with whole grains. Refining grain reduces or eliminates the bran and germ of the natural grain, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. It also makes the starch highly digestible. Eating highly digestible starch causes surges in insulin and blood sugar, boosts triglycerides, and lowers protective HDL cholesterol. The starch in potatoes is also rapidly digested. Be adventurous. In addition to whole wheat and brown rice, try quinoa, millet, farro, and amaranth.

Dine mindfully. Taking time to savor your food not only helps you enjoy it more, it also helps control your appetite. If you eat too quickly, the brain may not receive signals that the stomach is full. Put down your fork between bites and chew more slowly.

Eat breakfast. The daily morning rush sometimes means you skip breakfast. Don’t. A healthy morning meal makes for smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, which can lower the risk of overeating.

You can read the full article here.

Related Information: Harvard Women’s Health Watch


  1. Maya

    This is a fantastic post. Great info to start the year right as I’ve been striving for as a resolution of mine.

    With all the great advice in eating well, I am still researching things about herbal supplements, vitamins and such. My personal doctor says unless it’s Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, potentially calcium at times, there is no worth for vitamins and supplements, as he calls it a very lucrative market and is not necessary as we think they are. Other doctors disagree. I hope to find some good info on that here. Best!

  2. Yousri Rifai

    This is a great and have a good tips for a healthy eating

  3. Healthy Eating

    I know how it is easy to start New Year resolution for healthy eating with a lot of enthusiasm. As we get further into the year it often times is more difficult to continue on track with the great healthy eating tips provided here. I have found a source of inspiration to help throughout the year. It is the Paleo Recipe Book. It offers many delicious recipes that utilize fruits and vegetables. Thank you for sharing this post, and I wish everyone wonderful health throughout the New Year!

    • Ashish

      I think this inretnet site has got some rattling fantastic information for everyone . The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man that it forms. by Henri Frdric Amiel.

  4. hava

    Thanks for the advice, let me know the importance of breakfast and now I’ll try not to skip it for my health.

    Thank you

  5. Anonymous

    After the holidays I am sure a number of us want to eat more healthy. When dining out most of us don’t think about eating healthy mostly because it means spoiling ourselves. But as we eat out more and more we should be concerned about how healthy is the food we are eating. I and many others think of eating healthy as being boring but it doesn’t have to be. Even more fruits and vegetables in our diet can be a fun!

  6. Ayush Gupta

    Thanks for these tips. Ya I sometime miss my breakfast but now I will make sure i follow all steps.

    • Qory

      Whilst bimcoeng entertained in front of the Television, children snack on foods which are high in sugar, fat, and calories. Their activity levels have decreased while their intake of junk foods has significantly increased. This has the potential to generate young children with many wellness problems related to lack of nutrition and over-consumption of unhealthy foods.

  7. Paul

    I do try to eat healthy, but fail a lot of the time.

    • Carolyn Schatz

      Hi Paul,
      It’s great that you’re working toward healthier eating. Every effort you make is a step in the right direction. There’s no question, it can be difficult to adopt a new, healthy habit, and it can take a long time. So expect setbacks once in awhile, and don’t be hard on yourself. Just keep trying! One thing to keep in mind is that goals are easier to reach if they’re specific (“I’ll eat whole grains instead of refined grains and potatoes at dinner” rather than, “I’ll eat healthier”) and not too numerous (having too many goals limits the amount of attention and willpower you can devote to reaching any single goal). If you find you fall short of a goal, that’s not a failure. It just means that you need to reset the goal or perhaps adjust it slightly. For example, if you find it difficult at first to eat whole grains at dinner, set a goal of having them at three or four dinners a week—for two weeks, or a month. See how that goes. And good luck!

  8. CareyM

    Pile on the veggies and fruits – particularly non-starchy veggies. The goal should be to make 1/4 of your plate lean meat or protein, 1/4 of your plate whole grains, and 1/2 non-starchy veggies and fruit.

  9. Marilyn Smith

    The Nutrition Facts label is an important tool that gives people guidance for making smarter food choices from every food group. The label shows how high or low a food is in various nutrients.

  10. Sammi Richardson


    My company’s blog, Eco 18, has a very relevant article to yours posted. It’s also about tips for eating healthier. I feel that you and your readers would find it informative, and an enjoyable read.

    Thank you!

    • Peyton

      Way to go! I’m 1lb lower than your wieght right now. My goal is 155lbs, so 14 more to go! I just need to get motivated and work out more often.

  11. Akinlade Mary

    I eat anytime i want to eat but my diet is poor send me eaten habit planer or eaten talk habit thanks

  12. marilyn whitton holmes

    I eat very healthy am a vegetarian. However I drink beer like a fish for the last 6 years since my husband left me.

  13. haneen

    great ,i will do my best to improve the quality of my food , and to be healthier 🙂

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