Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: Lucky '13

A lot happened on the food politics front in 2012. There was the controversy over New York City's proposed ban on enormous soda servings, the narrow defeat of the proposition to label genetically modified foods in California, and McDonalds' pledge to (eventually) stop buying pork from farmers who use way-too-small crates to house pregnant sows to name a few of the more publicized issues. Closer to home, the local food movement continued to grow, with farmers' markets, sustainable restaurants, and healthy cookbooks springing to life all over the country. Change is coming slowly, and not all the change is good, but for better or for worse, we're thinking more about how, what, why, and with whom we eat.

So what's the next step? What are some realistic goals we can set to make 2013 even better than 2012?

All the talking in the world about what should or shouldn't be done on a large scale isn't going to come to anything without consumers making it feasible. And in terms of staying on track with your goals as a responsible and healthy consumer, it's been my experience that it all comes down to what you keep in your house. When you don't have healthy food on hand that you actually enjoy eating, that's when bad things happen. Like instant mac' and cheese, or Chinese take-out, or my personal favorite, "I'm not actually hungry I'll just skip dinner oh wait how did that empty ice cream carton get there?"

Notice I qualified the "healthy food" with "that we actually enjoy eating." Instead of making new year's resolutions that we don't look forward to keeping, let's make some that we're excited about. Mine is to keep the pantry stocked! I've gotten a little lax about that since I was so busy over the holiday season. (Say what you want about Christmas, but it makes a great scapegoat for why you haven't done anything you said you were going to do in at least a month- whether you celebrate it or not.)

A delicious and healthy pantry should have plenty of whole grains and canned beans at all times. These are inexpensive starters for salads, soups, stir fries and more. Get a little variety in there so you don't get sick of the same old same old, but also don't force yourself into buying things you know you just won't eat. It doesn't do anybody any good cluttering up the shelf and making you feel guilty.

A few years ago I came to terms with the fact that I just hate whole wheat pasta and I always will. My palate has changed a lot since I got into health food but I think this is one item that will just never really do it for me. I've come to terms with that by eating regular white pasta sometimes, but exploring other options like brown rice and quinoa as well, both of which I happen to love.

So what about you? What do you want to see more of in your kitchen this year? What are your deal breaker food items and how to do you work around your stubborn preferences?

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