Try a new market, neighborhood, or specialty store. Buy foods both fun and new. Shop healthy (lots of grains, beans, veggies, and so on) for a week’s menu. Enjoy...and repeat.

November 30, 2012
Photo: Caleb Chancey

Variety gives new life to New Year’s lighter-eating resolutions. A food-focused weekend outing to a Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Lebanese, Southeast Asian, or Greek food store (or neighborhood) is a joy and inspiration that introduces new foods and flavors to your family’s diet. (If you have kids, bring ’em along and let them choose some foods; they’re more likely to eat what they’ve helped buy.) Emphasize healthy pantry or freezer staples: lentils, corn tortillas, brown or basmati rice, egg or soba noodles, specialty breads. Choose high-flavor condiments and flavorings, such as salsas, chipotle chiles, deep-green olive oils, Indian pickles, as well as Asian spice pastes for vegetable or fish curries. Italian shelves groan with interesting shapes and artisanal varieties of pasta. Asian freezers now often offer a profusion of naans and dumplings. Of course, it’s easy to pile the basket high with rich treats (cheese, chocolates, cured meats). Buy small portions instead, planning to incorporate these into vegetable and grain-focused meals. Before you go, look for some healthy recipes from Cooking Light for shopping-list inspiration.