12 Achievable Food Resolutions

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12 Achievable Food Resolutions
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New Year's resolutions are often made to be broken, but they don't have to be. If you're serious about starting the year off right, choose goals that you have a shot at achieving, rather than striving for the impossible. And when it comes to food, focusing solely on what you aren't allowed to eat is a great way to burn out before Groundhog Day. With a little help from registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Erin Palinski, we've compiled 12 food goals that are a mix of fun and function, all of which are doable without a major life change.

Eat Better Chocolate
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Eat Better Chocolate

See, we didn’t tell you to stop eating chocolate. We’re not monsters. But you get only so many calories in a day, so don’t waste them on mediocre indulgences. Artisan chocolates are typically made with better ingredients, which often means less sugar. But let’s face it: The part we really care about is the taste. A higher concentration of cacao and other interesting ingredients like figs, chili powder, bacon or green tea will ensure that you get the most out of your chocolate splurges.

Join a CSA
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Join a CSA

Community Supported Agriculture is a local-food movement that benefits you just as much as it benefits your farm community. The way it works varies from place to place, but the gist is simple: You become a member or buy shares in a local farm, and in turn that farm provides you with regular batches of fresh produce. You get to eat local, fresh food; the farm earns money from its own community; as a bonus, it’s a very trendy movement to associate yourself with. Everybody wins.

Learn more at LocalHarvest.org

Rethink the Small Stuff
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Rethink the Small Stuff

Reduce your daily food intake by 100 calories to lose up to 12 pounds this year with no other changes, Erin advises. The good news is, you won’t have to give up much in the process. She suggests minor tweaks to your routine, such as changing from creamer to skim milk in your coffee; using whipped butter, which has half the calories of butter from a stick; and getting your salad dressing on the side and dipping each bite instead of pouring all of it on. Cutting down on portion sizes is another way to trim a few calories here and there.

Check out ErinPalinski.com for more information

Master a New Cuisine
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Master a New Cuisine

We said it before, but it's worth repeating: Your food goals in the new year don’t have to be focused solely on eating less or losing weight. Now is the perfect time to try out those Thai or Indian or Mexican cooking classes you’ve been thinking about. Learning to cook a whole new range of dishes can be beneficial for you mentally, but it can also be good for you physically if that’s still a main focus for you. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what goes into the meal, and you control the amount of sugar and fat that goes into each dish.

Get inspired: Global Kitchen: Indian Made Easy

Up Your Veggie Intake
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Up Your Veggie Intake

People are always droning on about how we should eat our vegetables because they’re so healthy and blah blah blah. Well, the reason smart people tell you to eat your veggies is that you really should, so let’s just embrace it. Erin recommends the average adult should aim for at least two cups of cooked veggies or four cups of raw each day, but for those of us who are veggie-averse, we can start smaller. Increase your vegetable servings by a quarter cup per day until you reach the target goal.

Small Batches, Big Flavors
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Small Batches, Big Flavors

As was the case with chocolate, we would never recommend that you give up your favorite cocktail. Everything in moderation. But, again, the things we take in moderation ought to be the best they can possibly be. Add some small-batch liquor from local distilleries to your home bar and enjoy great pours from craftsmen who approach cocktail hour like an artist approaches a canvas. Not only that, you add intrigue to your liquor cabinet and get in on one of the classier trends in drinking. Call it haute-toxication.

Find out more: Small-Batch Liquor Boom

Drink More
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Drink More

Sorry, but this isn’t a continuation of the last slide. We’re talking water here. You hear it all the time, but it belongs on the list because it really is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your energy up, aid in weight loss and tamp down hunger cravings. That’s why Erin recommends that you drink eight cups per day. Pick up a fun water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere, or reuse your Starbucks cup after your morning coffee. If you always have a drinking vessel, it’s that much easier to stay on track with this resolution.

Rely Less on the Grocery Store
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Rely Less on the Grocery Store

Let’s face it: Most of us don’t have the time, space or know-how to grow our own food. But there’s something in between running your own farm and eating microwave meals every night. Take steps to alleviate some of your bills and become (even just a little) more self-sufficient. Grow some herbs. Even if it’s a simple basil plant on your windowsill, there’s a satisfaction in knowing that you’ve contributed to your own meal. Make your own soup stock, which takes an afternoon and is one of the most versatile items in the kitchen.

When You Do Shop, Shop Smart
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When You Do Shop, Shop Smart

Even if you fully embrace the idea of relying less on the grocery store, let’s face it: It’s still a primary source of food. Most of us can shop smarter by simply making sure we don’t buy too much. Eat all the leftovers. Plan the next several days’ worth of meals before you head to the store, and make sure you factor in leftovers as next-day lunches. Don’t buy perishables on a whim, and pay attention to how much you actually use when you do buy food. Careful planning before you shop can lead to big savings and less wasted time and food.

Don’t Do Processed
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Don’t Do Processed

Everything in moderation is our mantra, and we really want to emphasize the moderation part when it comes to processed foods. Cutting back on these is tough, because premade, processed foods are generally faster to prepare. Giving them up requires more of your time and energy and a willingness to forgo some of the things you crave most. Sodium, preservatives and refined sugars are the major culprits. Take the time to get to know what’s in the foods you eat. It may surprise you. Erin recommends natural sweets, such as whole fruits, in place of snacks that contain refined sugars. Eat more whole grains. Most processed food has a whole food alternative that tastes at least as good and is better for you.

Give Up Meat One Day Per Week
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Give Up Meat One Day Per Week

Maybe we should have phrased this differently to keep the carnivores reading. How about this: Try new sources of protein one day per week. Eating less meat is generally better for you and better for the environment, and having a meat-free day is a great way to branch out from your typical meal rut. Pick up a vegetarian cookbook. You might be surprised at how little you’ll miss the meat once you see how versatile and interesting a vegetarian diet can be. Challenge your creativity by making some of your staples without the meat: Can your famous pasta sauce be as good without the Italian sausage? Will your family notice that the chili doesn’t have any beef in it? Finding out will be a fun and delicious challenge.

Build Your Own Recipe Book
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Build Your Own Recipe Book

The Internet allows us access to a recipe for nearly every type of dish we could hope for, yet how often do you find a recipe online and love it, only to forget where you found and never find it again? OK, maybe that doesn’t happen too often, but why not remove the potential completely by creating your own personal recipe book? Whether you manage it digitally (there are several websites and apps specifically for this purpose) or actually print the pages and collect the hard copies, having a collection of your favorite recipes on hand will prevent the dreaded conversation that too often results from the loaded question, “What should we make for dinner?”

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