Column: How to Keep Your New Year’s Food Resolutions

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Column: How to Keep Your New Year’s Food Resolutions

An easy vegetarian meal is always pasta.  I made this  with goat cheese, watercress and avocado.

An easy vegetarian meal is always pasta. I made this with goat cheese, watercress and avocado.

Photo credit: Anna Allgeyer

An easy vegetarian meal is always pasta. I made this with goat cheese, watercress and avocado.

Photo credit: Anna Allgeyer

Photo credit: Anna Allgeyer

An easy vegetarian meal is always pasta. I made this with goat cheese, watercress and avocado.

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As the end of January approaches, for many, so does regret season. Memories of New Year’s Eve flash back, of resolutions written down in notebooks, shared with friends or perhaps drilled into your mind over and over so that all you can think is “I will never drink caffeine again.”

And now? Your New Year’s resolutions may seem out of reach, impossible and thought of by someone who was most certainly not in their right mind.

I have heard several friends complain about their vegan, vegetarian or low-carbohydrate resolutions and how they have already given up within the first month. I am here to say that I completely resonate with this and that my no-coffee resolution lasted for about ten days.

And so I propose my much broader guidelines for a healthier 2017, without the urge to cry or huddle up and drink four cups of black tea in order to feel human again.

Want to go vegetarian for the new year but not having luck? Don’t beat yourself up about it. Adjusting from an omnivorous diet to meat-free is tricky and best accomplished in phases. First, cut out red meat, and slowly slide down the food chain from there.

Photo by Kristina Riordan
Even my younger self-knew that pizza is the ultimate vegetarian meal.

Another beneficial thing to do is plan your dinners for the first week or two so you aren’t tempted to go out and eat whatever delicious things you crave because cooking seems unmanageable.

Pastas, burritos and omelets can all go veggie this year.

Are you also looking to cut caffeine? Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that.

Was your goal to reduce your carbohydrate intake?  Perhaps some pizza with cauliflower crust may be to your liking or you could just follow the cardinal rule of eating more vegetables.

My motto this year is to “eat the rainbow,” meaning I want to incorporate as many different colors of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables into my diet as I can.

If you’re eating a rainbow diet, full of things like swiss chard, yams, grapefruit, spinach, blueberries, eggplant and blackberries, I don’t think calories factor into your health as much as the quality of the food you are consuming.

An economical way to start incorporating more plants into your diet may be a backyard or kitchen garden. The good news is that you don’t need a large planting space to make vegetables grow and start enjoying fresh produce. Window gardens full of fresh herbs and other low space plants are a real possibility for healthy eating this year.

I have found Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative page to be helpful in planning my spring garden, and she also includes lovely recipes for healthful eating.

Between gardens, clean lifestyles, rainbows and more, it seems that the best we can do for this new year is to eat sunshine and follow a healthy diet but avoid confining restrictions and stressful resolutions.

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