Our relationship with food is often complicated. As kids we are picky eaters, and as adults we are too busy to put a lot of thought into our food. But now that a new year has dawned, it’s time to start making some changes to how we approach food. Why not try out one of the following for this New Year’s resolution?
1. Eat Fewer Processed Foods
You may have grown up on pop-tarts, frozen dinners, and pre-packaged snacks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick them to the curb right now. Processed food has been linked to a myriad of ailments, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Even if the scientific evidence does not fully convince you of the illness connection to processed foods, why take the risk? Start by cutting out a few of the processed foods that you have on a daily or weekly basis, and keep going from there. To help you accomplish this, try resolution #2…
2. Eat More Good Stuff
Choose an apple or a handful of nuts instead of that 100 calorie package of Oreos. Eat something that is whole and unprocessed (a steak, some lentils, a big salad) instead of pastas or boxed meals. Beware, just because something is marketed as “good for you” doesn’t mean it is – this is especially true for natural food products that are super processed. Good stuff isn’t hard to find, it’s usually in the produce section.
3. Eat At Regular Times
Try to eat that good stuff at regular intervals, on a schedule. When you eat on a schedule, you are less likely to graze in between. You are also less likely to skip a meal (and the nutrients that come with it). Many doctors are recommending three small meals a day, with snacks in between to keep blood sugar levels stable and to keep you from being too hungry.
4. Eat With Your Family
If you can carve out some time to eat with your family, do so! You can make sure your family is eating healthy foods, and use the time to catch up on their daily lives. If you have a close-knit group of coworkers, you can try to consistently eat with them – if only for the opportunity to let off steam and have some fun at work.
5. Cook More
When you are in charge of your own meals, you’re more likely to eat nutritiously. Plus, you save money – a homemade meal is almost always cheaper than dinner for four at any place that will serve you healthy, tasty food. Cooking at home ensures that you know exactly what goes into the oven or crockpot, and thus you know what is going into your body. You’ll also be able to take some home-cooked food to work with you, and make those co-workers with store-bought sandwiches a little jealous.
6. Prepare Meals Ahead of Time
If you are already resolving to cook more at home, why not actually cook MORE. Make larger portions, so you can freeze meals or components of meals to save you time next down the road.
7. Try New Things
Expand that spice rack. Try that interesting vegetable that looks like an alien. Don’t know how to cook fish? Now’s the time to learn! Make trying new things in the kitchen your New Year’s resolution.
8. Waste Less
If you aren’t going to finish something, freeze it. If you know that you’ll never eat it, compost it. At least your garden will benefit.
9. Keep Track Of Your Eating Habits
Write down what you eat, when you eat, and how it makes you feel. Pretty soon you’ll notice patterns that can lead to better decision making.
10. Don’t Worry Too Much
If you don’t have time for all of these resolutions, or more than one – don’t worry. Tell yourself that any positive steps you take towards a healthy approach to food will benefit you. Stress has some hefty negative effects on health, too. Just do what you can, and don’t blame yourself if the fantastic meal you had planned didn’t quite turn out so fantastic.