U.S. News and World Report released its second annual rankings for “best diets” today, just in time for Americans who have resolved to lose weight or eat healthier in the new year.

(Barbara Damrosch)

The panel of 22 experts ranked 25 popular diets overall, based on seven categories: short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, easy to follow, nutrition, safety, diabetes and heart health. The fruit- and veggie-heavy Dash Diet contains many of the components nutrition experts have been telling people to focus on for years: eat whole grains and nuts, avoid sugars, fats and red meat.

But the diet, endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services, includes added focus on nutrients that are said to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber.

And as anyone who has seen one of those Jennifer Hudson commercials knows, Weight Watchers has a similar methodology: fruits, veggies and lean protein are good; fat and sugar, bad.

Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, our resident Nourish columnist, expressed some of the same sentiments in the Food section’s cover story this week. Her tips for the new year focus on incorporating more vegetables and grains into your favorite recipes or go-to meals. Orzo With Sweet Winter Vegetables, Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Flatbreads and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Shepherd’s Pie were highlighted in Sedgwick’s recipe list for the start of 2012, but a quick search for “Healthy” options in our Recipe Finder reveals hundreds more.

For a quick and healthful meal, Sedgwick swears by a good stir-fry.

“Stir-frying's your answer for dinner in 15 minutes, I promise. Buy the vegetables pre-cut if you'd like,” she said in today’s live chat.

Paired with brown instant rice, this Almond and Curry Broccoli Stir-Fry fits the bill. Plenty of other vegetables can be added to similarly basic stir-fry recipes, including bell peppers, squash and zucchini.

This Fried Rice With Cauliflower and Egg recipe strikes a similar vein. Use a reduced-sodium soy sauce to keep the salt quotient low.

For a lean protein, try this Mustard-Rubbed Tuna Salad. Adding avocado and multi-grain bread helps turn it into a satisfying meal. Or substitute poultry for red meat [corrected], with recipes such this Pan-Braised Chicken With Dried Fruits and Olives and whole-wheat couscous.

For more healthful recipes, search our Recipe Finder.