This week, if you search for New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll find everything from weight loss tips to tips for going green in 2012. FoodFacts thought it would be appropriate to put together our own short list of resolutions you can make that will help you become healthier in the new year.
1. Avoid processed food We talk about it constantly. The more processed food you consume, the more you’re asking your body to deal with foreign ingredients. Those ingredients, like MSG or sodium benzoate are things your body doesn’t need and may react to badly.
2. Commit to cooking at home more often. If you’re going to avoid processed foods, you’ll need to commit to preparing meals at home. Don’t forget that should include breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner. Many times, we can look at breakfast and lunch as “quick meals” that require convenient products that won’t disturb our set schedules.
3. Read the ingredient list on every product you purchase at the grocery store. There are some products, like canned beans or pickles for instance, that we can’t assume only contain the things we’d expect to find in them. Sadly that assumption isn’t always the case and the only way we can ensure avoiding those ingredients we really don’t want in our diets is to make a consistent habit of reading those lists.
4. Read the nutrition label, too. The basic nutrition information is important. We all need to understand how much fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol exist in the serving size of any product we consume. We also need to understand what our daily intake of those things should be. So find out what’s right for your body and eat accordingly.
5. Eat your vegetables … and if you already eat them, eat more of them! Experiment with veggies you’ve never tried before. Try to make sure eating the same vegetables over and over doesn’t bore you – it’s easy to get into a veggie rut … especially if you have kids that will only eat two or three.
6. Eliminate something you already know isn’t healthy. Try to give up something for the New Year that you already know isn’t healthy for your body. Maybe you drink too much diet cola. Maybe your favorite cereal is really a sugar rush. Pick just one thing in your diet today that you know shouldn’t be there and commit to eliminating it in 2012.
7. Try to fit organic foods into your budget . Certified Organic Food is one of the best ways to know you’re avoiding things you want to keep out of your diet. While it can be pricey, there are food products you may be able to replace with organic versions that won’t destroy your budget.
8. Be careful of product names. It’s so easy for any of us to be fooled. “Natural”, “whole grain”, “smart” are just a few of the words on packaging that can have any of us reaching for them without realizing that for food it’s really not all in the name.
9. Question convenience. As we go forward into 2012, we’re all pressed for time. Life does seem to move faster now than it did before. Food marketing relies heavily on the concept of making our lives easier. Instant oatmeal, frozen scrambled eggs and bacon, rice and flavorings in a box with dehydrated vegetables. Do we really need to save time this much? The answer is different for everyone. Make sure you ask the question of yourself in the new year.
10. Remember you won’t be deprived. If you follow any of these tips, remind yourself that there’s a big world of food out there. As you remove the things you don’t want in your diet, you’ll most certainly find things to replace them with that are better for you and your family that you’ll actually enjoy even more than what you dismissed for its lack of health value.
FoodFacts wants to wish everyone in our community a happy and healthy 2012!