The beginning of the new year always brings me a renewed sense of hope. A chance to be better than I was last year. Many of us if not all of us make New Year’s resolutions to finally finish that project, overcome a habit or exercise more. If you’re like most people, some of your New Year’s Resolutions might be to “eat healthier” or “eat more fruits and vegetables” “cut out fast food.” These are all great goals to have, but I want to challenge you to try these five healthy eating goals:

  1. Don’t Waste-According to the United Nations Environment program, in the U.S. 30-40% of the food supply is wasted. To put that in perspective, that means over 20 pounds of food is wasted PER person. This is sad to me as I consider all of the many countries whose vast populations are starving. To cut back on waste, you can plan out your menus and grocery lists so you are only buying the food you know you’ll use. If you have a lot of fruit trees try preserving some of your fruit and sharing with others. You can also plan your menu around ingredients you already have in your fridge and pantry.
  2. Follow the 80% Rule- I have talked about this rule before, which comes from the BlueZones Project of which we are a participating organization in. This is a great rule of thumb, because it reminds us that stuffing ourselves is not the way to live. Too many Americans are gluttonous eaters. 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese and a lot of this is due to overeating.
  3. Make Vegetables the Main Dish- While it’s important to get your protein, let’s make 2016 the time where vegetables take up more room on our plates than carbs, meats, etc. 2016 is all about vegetables and greens like bok choy, kale, collard greens, etc. Step out of your comfort zone and try new ones. Maybe you’ve been stuck on the kale trend, try spinach instead. It’s important to have a variety in your diet, but keep in mind that you need to buy the vegetables you will actually eat and like or else you won’t eat them!
  4. Dine with Company-I’m not suggesting that you have to host a bunch of dinner parties. What I am saying is to sit down with your family and friends to enjoy a good conversation and meal. Many of our clients’ lives are so busy that making dinner just isn’t something they can do. However, having the meals ready for them allows them to enjoy meals with their families and not have to waste time in prep or clean up. Also, studies have shown that you tend to eat more when you’re preoccupied with watching TV, surfing your phone or the web, so turn off the devices!
  5. Buy Local, Fresh Ingredients-The farm-to-table trend is popular right now and there’s a good reason for it. People want to know where their food is coming from. They want to know that it’s organic, healthy and that no chemicals have contaminated it. What are some other reasons to buy local? It’s better for you (less time to lose nutrients by the time it reaches your table), you’re supporting local farmers (they get full retail price as opposed to wholesale) and it also helps preserve open land in your communities. We always try and use local ingredients in our meals because they taste better and it’s beneficial not only to us but our communities.

I wish you a healthier and yummier 2016!