AFTER A December of eating, drinking and being merry, the New Year can feel like a great time to try and be a new you.

Most of us will start the New Year resolving to be healthier, to eat less and to move more.

New Year’s resolutions are thought to have started with the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. They were the first to celebrate the New Year, although for them it started in mid-March when the crops were planted, and not in January like we celebrate it today.

A similar practice occurred in ancient Rome, which was closer to the way we celebrate today. After Julius Caesar altered the calendar, establishing the start of the year as 1st January in 46 BC, the New Year’s resolutions and celebrations we are familiar with came to be.

Named after Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings, January became a time when Romans would offer sacrifices to the deity, and make promises of good conduct for the coming year.

We will never really know what kind of New Year’s resolutions the Romans made, but these days we all strive to be better people, and for some of us, that involves eating less unhealthy food.

While Italian food is always delicious, it can often be unhealthy.

Our desserts are often full of sugar, with lashings of cream, and our love of cheese is no secret, whether we’re enjoying it as part of antipasto, sprinkling it all over our pasta or enjoying a pizza topped with lots of mozzarella cheese – we even use it in our desserts, like cannoli and tiramisu.

Italian food can be healthy though, so if you are trying to cut down on your fat or sugar intake, or just striving to eat more vegetables, there will be a dish out there for you that you can still enjoy.

Maybe you have resolved to cook more and try new recipes out for your family. If so, this month I’ve got a treat for you: homemade gnocchi.

As is always the case with Italian cuisine, it is not known for sure where gnocchi originated. The word gnocchi is thought to come from nocca, the Italian word for knuckles, which probably describes the shape of the pasta.

It is thought to have originated in Northern Italy, where the colder climate was better for growing some of the ingredients needed. The pasta is kind of like little dumplings, made by combining flour and potatoes.

Once you have made your gnocchi, it is up to you how you serve it.

In the interest of being healthy, I will be talking you through how to serve yours with cherry tomatoes and courgette ribbons, which will not only pack your plate with healthy ingredients, but will give the appearance of a very patriotic Italian dish, with the green courgettes, white pasta and red cherry tomatoes.

• Visit and click on What’s On then Food & Drink, to see Nick’s previous recipes.