Although 2009 is well under way, it’s never too late to come up with your resolutions. I’ve decided to share the resolutions I came up with last year and intend to stick to this year. This is a cross-post with the The Black Burner  blog that is associated with Key Ingredient  but thought that I should share it here as well.
Healthy Eating New Years Resolutions
I’ve been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for a little over 10 years now; however, I think that my resolutions could apply to any diet.
– Use more local produce and products.
Last year, I joined a CSA and it was the best decision I ever made. This weekly delivery of local vegetables and fruits made me focus on planning a menu for the week rather than “playing it by ear”. As a result, I had less wasted food and was more prepared when I hit the grocery store. I am also fortunate enough to work within walking distance from a weekly farmers market. Between the two, I’m able to supplement my fresh vegetable intake and help support the local economy.
– Use more organic foods
I’ve noticed that over the past few years my local grocery stores have started expanding their organic options. At first it was in only the fresh produce area. Now, there are even more organic products in other areas – canned vegetables, chips, dips, snacks and more. We are already bombarded with a lot of chemicals in our daily lives, a few less that we ingest could only serve to help us.
– Check out healthier alternatives
This year, I plan to step away from white rice and cook more brown rice. It’s always tempting to head to the white rice because it’s so much quicker to cook. But, if I cook a large batch of brown rice at the beginning of the week, I just have to heat it up later. This is a small switch that will reap great benefits. I already cook whole wheat pastas and eat whole wheat breads, the switch to brown rice is only natural.
– Try at least one new recipe a week.
I didn’t become a vegetarian overnight. In fact, I phased out meat slowly out of my diet and soon I didn’t miss it at all. What I did do was introduce new vegetarian dishes into my diet. And, with the advent of so many faux meat products, it was pretty painless to live without meat. And, by opening my kitchen to a wider variety of recipes I’ve never been bored.
For meat eaters, I would aim towards trying one meatless dinner a week . You’ll be surprised at the great meals that you can make in any kind of cuisine imaginable – Chinese, Italian, Indian, Tex-Mex and more. Check out your library for vegetarian cookbooks or just search for recipes online.
A meatless meal can be as simple as a bowl of pasta and a jarred pasta sauce with mushrooms or peppers. Served with a salad and garlic bread, you’ve got yourself a wonderful meatless meal. If you have people in your household that must absolutely, positively have meat at every meal, don’t point out that the meal is “vegetarian”. I’m sure if you don’t point out the lack of meat…no one will notice.
You can even try something that looks elaborate but is really easy to make, like the Butternut Squash Polenta Bites with Brazilian Avocado Butter . People will be so impressed with what you’ve pulled off that they won’t notice that it didn’t have meat in it.