Although there’s no reason to wait for a new year to start making changes to your diet, now that a new year is upon us, it’s as good an excuse as any! Whether you are just starting out on your better health journey, or are somewhere along the way, you will no doubt be wondering how you can improve your diet and learn more about food. So for the new year, here are 13 inspiring and simple food resolutions for your best eating year yet!
1. Give up sugar for a week.
Better yet, try 21 days or a month! Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and just as dangerous – it just kills you slower. Even unprocessed fructose sugars in fruit can be addictive for some people. Fortunately, as with other addictive substances, when you get it out of your system for awhile, you can break the addiction!
2. Try a food you think you don’t like.
Tastes can change, especially as you eat less processed and sugary foods and more whole plant and animal foods. I would have never thought I’d like brussel sprouts, liver, raw tomatoes, kale, eggplant or mussels, but now I love them. Brad used to hate omelets and mushrooms but now is a fan!
3. Swap caffeine for herbal tea.
And see if you miss it after a week! Caffeine is a stimulant, which many of our already over-stressed systems don’t need. It is also a diuretic, increasing the excretion of water through urination, while most of us need to take IN more water. Most cafes have peppermint and chamomile herbal teas, and there are many other delicious varieties in the shops to try at home.
4. Try using coconut oil.
Coconut oil has no trans fat when heated, even at high temperatures, and is mainly composed of health-giving medium-chain saturated fatty acids. Use it in your regular recipes in place of other oils and rub some into your skin while you’re at it. It’s full of Vitamin E!
5. Get shake-ing! Blend up some shakes.
With a blender or stick blender and a few ingredients, you can have a highly nutritious, satiating meal in minutes. Try out some different types of shakes to see what you like best so you can keep those ingredients on hand all the time. Just say no to protein powders!
6. Source an organic food shop and farmer’s market.
Chemical-free organically grown whole food is not as expensive as you think, and worth any extra pennies when you know what pesticides do to you. Locate organic food sources and farmer’s markets by asking around, visiting your local council office or searching on the web. Slowly buy more of your groceries from these places and soon you won’t need the supermarket.
7. Find a free-range butcher.
Remember that animal protein and fat is only as healthy as the animal was. Find a butcher who sources grass-fed, free-roaming animals and get to know each other. You can then also learn about new cuts of meat, cooking tips and put in special requests. Forming relationships with the butchers and farmers who feed us can only ensure our better health.
8. Set up a learn-to-cook date or cooking play date.
Set up a lunch or dinner cooking (and eating!) date with a friend who likes to cook, so you can socialise while learning some cooking skills and ideas at the same time. You can take turns hosting and being the cook, like a recipe swap, or make a regular dinner party night out of it. If you have kids, have a kitchen play date where the parents cook together while the kids play.
9. Pick a food that you can stop buying and start making.
Homemade versions of most foods are much healthier than the store-bought version, and in some cases can turn an unhealthy food into a nutritious one, as with tomato sauce (ketchup), mayonnaise, and salad dressing. Coconut milk is easier than you think and homemade broth/stock will save you heaps of money.
10. Try some new vegetables or fruits.
Despite the awesome variety of produce available to us these days, most people eat the same types of fruit and veg every week, even all year round. No wonder we are bored with healthy food! Awaken your taste buds and add various nutrients to your diet by buying something new each time you go food shopping. Get some ideas on veggies and how to cook them from the Vegetable Cheat Sheet.
11. Stick to a budget without compromising quality.
Notice where processed, pre-prepared, packaged and restaurant foods are actually much more costly than whole plant and animal foods. Buy produce in season for best value and learn how to use inexpensive real foods and cheaper cuts of meats, like cabbage, carrots, chicken broth, boned meats and slow-cooked meats. Think about which unhealthy habits or unnecessary material goods are draining your budget and re-allocate that money to buying good food. Here’s our 15 ways to eat healthy on a budget.
12. Grow your own herbs or vegetables.
Herbs require very little space, even a windowsill will do. You will save money, always have fresh flavours on hand, and can even freeze any extras for later so none go to waste. If you have a balcony or small yard, find a book or website that teaches you how to plant a few veggies so you will always have cheap, fresh organic food at home.
13. Develop a great relationship with food.
Instead of fearing calories, worrying about possible intolerances and scrutinizing vitamin and nutrient needs, just start looking at food as a life-giving, pleasurable, interesting array of plants and animals that you are fortunate to have plenty of. Keep it simple: eat real whole plant and animal foods, only eat until you are full or satisfied, savour the tastes, ignore the labels, and appreciate all the energy and joy that you receive from each mouthful.
Remember that unlike goals, resolutions are rarely reached and then finished. Resolutions are more of an on-going thing, allowing for a fresh start and new try however many times you like. Resolutions can continue to motivate us and remind us of our personal challenges and desires every day of every year. So keep your resolutions where you can see them regularly throughout the year, as positive change is not limited to January.
Now let me show you How to Keep Your Resolutions All Year!
Which of these resolutions are you ready to commit to? Do you have a different food resolution for this year?
13 Food Resolutions for the New Year – December 2013