After we spend the holiday season binging on Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, “eat healthier” is often at the top of our New Year’s resolutions lists. But creating and maintaining a healthier diet sometimes feels like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

This year, set yourself up for success and take note of the following nutrition advice from experts on the Forbes Health Advisory Board. Whether you’re looking to boost your immune system with the foods you eat or take control of your gut health, their advice will help you head into the new year on solid footing.

Start Small

“The best piece of advice when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, whether your goal is to eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more or stress less, is to lose the all-or-nothing mentality,” says Melina Jampolis, M.D., an internist and board-certified physician nutrition specialist. “Set smaller interim goals or milestones on the path to your larger goal (and write them down in a journal to look back on your successes for extra motivation), and don’t let a few setbacks throw you completely off track. Small, practical changes over time really do add up to big results.”

Janese Laster, M.D., who’s board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and obesity medicine and a physician nutrition specialist, shares similar advice.

“When attempting to change your diet, take it one step at a time. Don’t try to change everything overnight—it’s a recipe for disaster,” says Dr. Laster. “Give yourself one weekly goal to build on each week. You’ll notice that it becomes easier and easier with time. Avoid sodas, juice, fast foods and ultra-processed foods while increasing water, fruits and vegetables!”

Fill Your Plate With Beans and Leafy Greens

“Resolve to eat more beans and leafy greens,” adds Dr. Jampolis. “Most Americans don’t eat nearly enough of these super healthful, nutrient-dense foods that can improve your health and may help you live a longer, healthier life.” Specifically, she notes beans are a very good source of plant-based protein that can support heart health—especially if they replace red meat. They are also an excellent source of fiber, which supports healthy cholesterol, and they can help everything from your blood sugar levels to gut health to appetite control. They are even a good source of magnesium, which supports healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, and they provide disease-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants, she says.

Meanwhile, “leafy greens are not only super low in calories, eating them regularly (a little more than a serving each day) may reduce your risk of diabetes by up to 14% and improve brain function to the equivalent of being 11 years younger,” she adds. “They are also loaded with immunity-supporting beta carotene, vitamin K and magnesium, along with other phytonutrients and antioxidants.”

Focus on Adding—Not Subtracting

“For a healthy kick in 2022, rather than ‘giving up’ foods, focus on eating more produce for its health protective benefits—and deliciousness,” says Jackie Newgent, a plant-forward registered dietitian nutritionist, classically-trained chef and award-winning cookbook author.

“But give yourself a specific, personalized goal to assure you’ll want to keep doing it,” she adds.  “For instance, a goal could be to enjoy at least one vegetable serving in any way you want for weekday breakfasts—think a side salad (yes, salad is for breakfast, too!), a veggie and fruit smoothie, savory oatmeal, sweet potato hash browns, roasted peppers on top of your avocado toast, last night’s vegetables in your eggs or plant-based eggs, or a breakfast-inspired crudité board.”

Taste the Rainbow

“Consume a colorful diet—color your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and fish,” advises Taylor Wallace, Ph.D., principal and CEO of the Think Healthy Group, a food science and nutrition research firm. “Sauté your vegetables in garlic and vegetable oil (canola and soybean oil have a lower saturated fat content compared to most other oils), but stay away from margarine and butter substitutes. Increase your consumption of lean proteins and flavor up your dish with a variety of spices, such as cumin or rosemary, instead of salt. The more color, the better!”

Prioritize Potassium

“Don’t spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to cut sodium from your diet unless you have hypertension or heart disease,” adds Wallace. “Instead, try choosing foods that are good sources of potassium like baked potatoes, coconut water, white beans, bananas, dates, clams and low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Most of us consume too much sodium (which is high in processed foods) and not enough potassium. A delicate balance of these two electrolytes is needed for optimal vascular health. Cutting sodium (salt) shows only small, insignificant effects in healthy people. It’s all about the potassium!”

Eat More Plants

“A whole-food, plant-based diet has many potential health benefits, including decreasing risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancers,” says Jeffery Landsman, M.D., who is triple board-certified in family medicine, lifestyle medicine and geriatrics. “Also, it can help to achieve ideal body weight. Many of these foods may also have the health benefit of boosting your immune function, which we all would benefit from during this scary time. Starting this type of diet at a younger age can help prevent disease and, at a later age, may help reverse diseases like diabetes and hypertension.”

Focus on Your Immune System

“In 2022, keep your immune system in tip-top shape. If your immune system is healthy, it’s easier to fight bacteria, viruses or anything else trying to make you sick,” says Toby Amidor, a registered dietitian, nutrition expert and cookbook author. “A global pandemic has shaken the way we view our health and that of our families, and it’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against us. Keeping your family’s immune systems strong and resilient is your first-line defense for safeguarding their health.”

“It’s more important now than at any other point in our lives to make sure our immune systems are operating at peak efficiency,” she adds. “Although that sounds complicated, it all starts with what you eat. A healthy diet keeps your immune system in optimum shape. If you have a subpar diet, improving what you eat can also help improve your immunity. Unfortunately, during times of high stress, it’s easy to forget how much we benefit from eating well.”

Try the Mediterranean Diet

“Diets that raise blood sugar levels lead to an increase in inflammation, which is associated with ongoing ‘brain fog,’ and a brain that’s in a constant state of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) simply cannot function well,” says Philip Stieg, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon. “There’s also a link between increased levels of inflammation and both mood disorders and long-term neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. That’s why some researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s disease ‘type 3 diabetes’—that’s how high the risk is for those who eat poorly.”

Guard Your Gut

“I feel that healthy digestion is the foundation of good health,” says Lenore Cangeloso, a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner. “As we enter cold and flu season, it’s especially important to eat warming foods, drink bone broth, wear a scarf and get acupuncture! Limiting raw foods, processed sugars and overconsumption of dairy will keep you in tip top shape this winter.”