New Year’s resolutions come in all shapes and sizes but it seems like a fair majority of resolutions are related to food, diet, exercise and weight-loss. Let’s be honest, most resolutions made are unattainable and are abandoned after January, if they last that long. No one wants to make a resolution that they can’t stick with.
The problem is that most set their resolutions around a big end goal ie: lose 10 lbs, lower cholesterol. These goals are great to have but speak nothing to how you’ll get there. Instead I try making resolutions related to small changes to my regular routine as I find they feel more realistic and attainable and I may reach my end goal just the same.
So here’s my list of 10 (Reasonable) New Year’s Food Resolutions for 2012. Don’t worry, you can pick just one.
1. Try a new recipe at least once a month.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and our menus become so predictable that even the guy who rings us up at the grocery store looks bored. Mix it up at least once a month with a new recipe. I find food blogs are the best source for recipes because they’re tried and true and have great photos along the way. We like: Food Loves Writing, Green Gourmet Giraffe, and The Sprouted Kitchen to name a few.
I love the versatility of mangoes. They can be used in smoothies, salads, savory tacos, over ice cream, I could go on and on. And they’re rich in vitamins A & C and in anti-oxidents. Issue yourself a challenge to incorporate a fruit or veggie of your choice into everyday of a week. It sounds daunting but it can be fun and creative and believe me, you’ll learn a lot. Next year, you may be the one raving at how far you can stretch a beetroot.
3. Experiment once a month with new whole grain.
Whole grains continue to gain ground on the supermarket shelves and there’s good reason for it. Whole grains are a great sort of antioxidents, fiber, iron, and vitamins and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and strokes. While there are two categories; quick and slow-cooking, we prefer the quick cooking grains (less than 30 minutes) like quinoa, polenta, buckwheat, and bulgur. Each grain has its own unique flavor and uses but all of them make flavorful (and healthy!) accompaniments to mains. The Stone Soup featured Quinoa in a post this year including a recipe for a delicious Warm Salad of Roast Cauliflower & Quinoa and we fell in love with The Curvy Carrot’s recipe for Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs.
4. Waste less.
The amount of food waste produced in this country is unbelievable. I, myself, would be embarrassed to admit how often we empty the bin at our house. 2012 will be our year to focus on discarding less. We’ll try more careful planning of our weekly menu to ensure we focus on just a few ingredients that can be incorporated throughout the week. We’ll freeze, can, or preserve our produce. And we’ll attempt to eat all our left-overs before making a new meal. We must do better.
There is little argument about the fact that there are no health benefits to these bubbly drinks. Zero. Zilch. And the list of health problems associated with these types of drinks is growing as we speak. Give it up or limit your intake. Your body will thank you.
6. Eat a proper brekkie more often.
Countless articles and studies have shown the benefits of eating a proper breakfast; reducing hunger throughout the day, jump-starting your metabolism, better focus and concentration, and maintaining a healthy weight. I should note that these benefits were seen with brekkies that excluded foods high in fats and sugars like donuts. A few quick and “proper” brekkie ideas are:
- Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
- A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese or slice of tomato
- Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
- Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
- Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
- Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts
- Hard-boiled egg and a banana or other piece of fruit.
8. Make something from scratch at least once a month.
The less processed food the better. Stretch your cooking skills and make something from scratch, something that you normally buy in a box or a jar. For example: Replace your jarred spaghetti sauce with homemade tomato sauce like this one from Cook Like a Champion.
9. When in doubt, drink water.
We in Melbourne are especially lucky to have some of the best water in the world so we really have no excuse. While previous guidelines have always been 8 oz or 250 ml per 24 hours, recent publications have suggested that there’s no clear guidelines because the needed amount is variable based on your level of exercise, where you live, pregnancy/breast-feeding, etc. Bottom line: stay hydrated, drink water and eat vegetables and fruit with high water content like watermelons and tomatoes.
10. Take time to enjoy your food.
A meal-on-the-go is unavoidable sometimes. But every once in awhile it feels nice to sit down and enjoy a meal instead of inhaling your food and running out the door or munching on “Macker’s ” in the car. Making time for a meal is important. It’s good to savor each bite, appreciate the food we’ve been given, and spend time with family and friends. Life is unquestionably full-on but I don’t believe there’s anyone who can’t find time to sit down for a bit to enjoy a meal.
So, will you try one of these resolutions? If not, what are some of your New Year’s Resolutions? Happy New Years to everyone! Here’s to a a yummy and healthy 2012.