15 Recipes to Try When One of Your 2015 New Year's Resolutions Is to Eat Healthier

I kind of hate New Year's resolutions, because it almost feels like you're being set up for failure. Like, just because you have to buy a new calendar, doesn't mean you have to reinvent yourself, you know? *Even though* the whole notion of resolutions is a bit contrived, I still end up setting some goals for myself — like to try to eat healthier. This seems like the hardest goal to meet because I keep recycling it every year, trying, failing, and then trying again. This year, it's totally going to be different. 

In terms of a healthier diet, "healthier" is a broad term, so I'll leave it up to you to decide what it means for your body. Whether it's losing weight, gaining weight, gaining muscle, or feeling less tired every day, you'll probably have to start off by tweaking your diet somehow. Here are 15 awesome recipes that don't even seem healthy (but they totally are).

Post-Workout Ginger Orange Salmon with Sweet Potato Hash

Just because you’re trying to eat healthier doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to flavor. Using orange juice, honey, ginger, and paprika, you can make yourself a protein-rich, lean salmon dinner. Find the recipe on Bare Root Girl.

Image: Bare Root Girl

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I had no idea cauliflower was so versatile until I started using it as a substitute for basically everything (pizza crust, potatoes, fries, you name it). This recipe on Cara’s Cravings shows you how to make a comforting, yet flavorful and filling soup that’s totally perfect for chilly winter weather. 

Image: Cara’s Cravings

Orzo Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas

This side dish from Family Fresh Cooking includes Garbanzo beans and toasted pine nuts, both of which have tons of protein. The orzo is a nice change of pace if you’re burnt out on rice or regular noodles. While this is a simple recipe, it goes well with just about everything, and it’s super low-fat and nutritious. 

Image: Family Fresh Cooking

Kale Salad with Goji Berries and Maple Roasted Almonds

So, you can’t really do the whole “diet” thing without incorporating kale into your life in some way, shape, or form, right? Kale is actually really versatile (as I’ve recently discovered), and if prepared correctly, it’s not even all that bitter (yay). This salad by Healthful Pursuit  balances out the leafy-ness with sweet goji berries and nuts. It’s perfect for lunch or a side salad during dinner.

Image: Healthful Pursuit 

Paleo Pad Thai

While I’m not about to commit to a paleo diet, I do think some aspects of it make you more conscious about what you’re putting into your body, which is a good thing. This paleo version of pad thai from Against All Grain is lighter, and much more carb-friendly than the plate you would get at a Thai restaurant. 

Image: Against All Grain

Butternut Squash Walnut & Sage Pasta

Just because fall is over with doesn’t mean you have to stop inhaling butternut squash wherever you go. This pasta from Love and Lemons uses butternut squash, sage, walnuts, chickpeas, cheese, and rice pasta to give you a high-protein, high-fiber meal. It’s delicious, homey, and wonderful. 

Image: Love and Lemons

Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites

These brownie bites are so good for you, I’m pretty sure you can count them as a pre- or post-workout snack. Making Thyme for Health shows you how to create your own little balls of chocolate by using cocoa powder, dates, and chocolate chips. You won’t even realize how much amazing, nutritious things you’re consuming when you snack on these little guys.

Image: Making Thyme for Health

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black Bean Breakfast Pizza on Polenta Crust

Here’s another delicious way to use kale! Make this Southwestern-inspired meal for breakfast, and you’ll feel full for hours. You can find the recipe on Cara’s Cravings.

Image: Cara’s Cravings

Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I could never give up mac ‘n cheese, no matter what. Mac ‘n cheese is my drug. However, there are ways to consume mac without also consuming like 10 gallons of milk and cheese. Using low-fat and skim cheese as well as Greek yogurt, you can create a satisfying bowl of buffalo mac, easy. Find the recipe on Prevention RD

Image: Prevention RD

Pumpkin Coconut Curry with Chicken Meatballs

Even in the summer, you can make this recipe using pumpkin (which is arguably even more flavorful). Instead of your standard beef meatballs, Family Fresh Cooking illustrates how you can make this Indian-inspired, flavorful alternative instead. 

Image: Family Fresh Cooking

Spicy Sriracha Shrimp and Zucchini Lo Mein

This recipe from Prevention RD is super dependent on fresh veggies, herbs, and shrimp (which is so lean!), so you’ll feel full without also feeling sluggish and gross. Similar to pad thai, this noodle recipe is spicy, sweet, and zesty. 

Image: Prevention RD

A Classic Green Smoothie

Green smoothies are iconic. And that’s because they contain basically every veggie under the sun and still taste like orange juice. This recipe from What’s Cooking Good Looking is a little more hardcore, utilizing parsley, kale, cilantro, and cucumbers. Adding a couple apples, bananas, or even a splash of OJ gives this drink a bit of sweetness (so you can tolerate it). 

Image: What’s Cooking Good Looking

Mango Habanero Black Bean Tacos

When in doubt, throw together some ingredients you have laying around in your cabinets and fridge. Not only are you being economically friendly, but you’re also being healthy (depending on what ingredients you choose). This recipe from Love and Lemons calls for black beans, mangos, avocado, and onion for a super flavorful, sweet and spicy dinner.

Image: Love and Lemons

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles

These light popsicles made from cashew milk, dates, and maple syrup, are the perfect solution for when you just really, really want a handful of chocolate chip cookies. Find the recipe on Cara’s Cravings

Image: Cara’s Cravings

Carrot Cake Waffles

Just because you’re eating healthier doesn’t mean you can’t have waffles! I mean, what would Leslie Knope think of you? This recipe from Making Thyme for Health shows you how to make healthy, delicious waffles from quinoa/buckwheat flour, ground chia/flax seed, carrots, and walnuts. It’s protein-packed, sweet, and it’s perfect for a fancy breakfast or brunch. 

Image: Making Thyme for Health