As usual, I’ve got food on the brain and while everyone around me is talking about their New Year’s resolutions, I am thinking about my food resolutions. I’m the sort of foodie who spends time cooking what I want to. I love to be creative and experiment in the kitchen and I rarely make the same thing twice. The rest of my time in the kitchen is spent cooking my iron clad go-to dishes, the everyday staples that fill my lunch boxes and dinners. I am realizing that like most people, it is a really big challenge to change my daily reliable recipes to try to eat more of the way I would like to – healthy, tasty, local and sustainable. Seems like a tall order, but here is my short list
of food resolutions. I figure if I can make a couple of these small changes, collectively, they will make a big impact.
1. Eat more alternative grains – Amaranth, quinoa, millet, huh?
Yes, many of these grains seem unfamiliar and difficult to integrate. The fact is they are super foods, packed with protein and ‘good for you carbs’, so well worth the effort of trying to eat more of.
2. Eat more fruit
I genuinely love fruit, all different kinds of fruit but sadly I struggle with getting regular servings into my diet on a daily basis. I can’t tell you how many days I realize that I haven’t had a piece all day. Not sure why this is, maybe some residual habit from the days of “no snacking between meals”. I am hoping this is an easy fix by trying to integrate regular shakes and smoothies into my routine and snacking more often, which is actually great for you.
3. Eat different vegetables
I have a pretty consistent grocery list when it comes to veggies and the ones that I can prepare well, which means I generally eat the same veggies over and over again. Vegetables pack such a variety of vitamins, so integrating new varieties, especially those in season is a key way to amp up your diet. Go to your produce section with an open mind and look around instead of picking up the same old.
4. Eat more nuts and seeds
Nuts have long been hailed as a super food, but again I find myself a little challenged with how to integrate other than grabbing a handful. Consider regularly adding nuts and seeds to breakfast choices; pancakes, smoothies, granola and yogurt. Another great place to add nuts and seeds is in salads and salad dressings.
5. Drink more tea
Tea is great alternative to drinking anything bought off the shelf and has amazing properties to boot. I sometimes brew a big pot of concentrated herbal tea, cut it with water and then refrigerate for regular drinking.
6. Pick ten super foods and find a way to eat them regularly
Enough said. There are so many of them out there.
7. Regularly take vitamins and supplements
Everyday there seems to be a new article for what we are missing and what we should be taking. I pulled out all my bottles from my cupboard and was astounded at the number and variety (and how many were expired and how much space they took up). I have decided to go and see my local reputable health food store and figure out what I should be taking, how much, how often and ditch the rest.
8. Learn more ethnic
Last but not least. First off, I love ethnic food. Spicy, unexpected, unpronounceable. The more exotic the better. I have been getting more and more involved in learning about how to cook different ethnic recipes at home; Indian, Asian, Indonesian, African, West Indian, South American, etc. It has been a labour of love and the one thing I consistently find from culture to culture is that many techniques involve layering flavours and spices for big impact and rely little on North American staples like salt, sugar, and processed flavours. For me, this is the holy grail of cooking and I am committed to continue to find techniques that I can bring into my own everyday cooking that will allow me to create big flavours in a healthy way. If you know of any grandmothers that are willing to share some time in their kitchen, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
So that’s my short list for the year. These are all little things that nag at me almost daily but finding quick, easy solutions to implement is where I need to do some work. Throughout the year, as I explore, discover and make mistakes, I promise to share so we call benefit together. And seriously, if you know of any grandmothers happy to show off their family secrets in the kitchen, please reach out so we can pay them a visit and learn a little something. Growing up Italian, I’m great at taking orders in the kitchen.