Not that you asked, but my opinion on New Year’s resolutions? Make em! Have goals. But be flexible.
Some people are self-obstructively binary about these things by setting a narrow goal and declaring the resolution broken at the first sign of delinquency, or worse, avoiding making a resolution at all because the odds of remaining completely faithful to it are slim. You may say you want to join a gym, go for two weeks, miss the first day of the third week and never visit the gym again. Or you may say you want to quit smoking, you make it through the first day, light up due to some trigger and retreat back into the same old habits the very next day. Diet. Acts of kindness. Writing. These are just examples from my own personal experience, but you have your own. I like to think I’ve matured somewhat over the years. I’m a lot more flexible about goals and resolutions, and I’m a lot more forgiving of myself as a consequence. Leniency seems to me to be a much more successful tactic to achieving a goal than trying to be “motivated” or even “realistic” (neither of which are bad advice, just not very helpful, imho). Just know that it’s okay to take things slow. Making a New Year’s resolution isn’t going to be like flipping a switch – you have all year. The important thing is to make the adjustment an important part of your daily life. Just attempting to make yourself a better person will make you a better person. Stay positive!
Here are some of my favorite food-related New Year’s resolutions that I’ve made over the years. For the most part, I’ve been rather successful with each one. I certainly think I’m better off having set them as goals. My rule of thumb is to worry less about getting it right and more about making it better.
- Be more present (i.e. less distracted) when you cook, and make an effort to think about what’s going on with the food as it goes from raw to plate.
- Find out where the foods you normally eat come from.
- Practice cooking eggs lots of different ways. Not all at once.
- Bake some bread.
- Braise some meat.
- Eat more vegetables. Buy a folding steamer basket.
- Eat fresh fruits and dried nuts instead of chips and cookies.
- Drink more water. You’ll be amazed at how good it tastes once you’re hooked.
- Skip seconds. Have some water instead.
- Make stocks, and turn these stocks into soups etc.
- Learn how to cook over charcoal.
- Learn how to butcher a chicken.
- Cook seasonal foods. Not sure how to start? Shop at the farmers’ market, or better, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, even for a short time.
- Donate money to a food bank. Every little bit helps.
- Don’t eat fast food, especially for dinner. If you’re too busy to make a quick meal for dinner, you’re too busy.
- Plan for leftovers, for when even a quick meal isn’t quick enough.
- Get some painter’s tape and start labeling containers you put in the fridge with the date of entry.
- Stop buying foods that are sold in boxes and bags. You’ll eat less mac&cheese if you have to make it the “hard” way.
- Make mac&cheese the “hard” way. Not that hard, very yummy.
- When picking a restaurant, go local. (I’ll have a post about why at some point.)
- Eat at a real table. The coffee table doesn’t count.
- Offer to cook for other people, and accept when others extend the offer to you.
- Talk about food.
- Burp out loud.
Wishing everyone a delightful 2017! Bon appétit!