5 Healthy Food Resolutions for the New Year

What you buy, where you buy it and when you use it can all contribute to a healthy-eating regimen.

by John D. Ivanko

As we move into a new year, resolve to take your healthy-eating habits a little more seriously. Here at Inn Serendipity, we’ve enjoyed our fair share of buttery, whipped cream-laden holiday fun and would like to take on a few new challenges for our farmstead kitchen and eating plan in the new year. The key for us is to keep commitments manageable and meaningful—small changes quickly cook into new habits.

Here are our six resolutions for the new year, ones that you can adapt and make them your own.

1. Keep Stocked

Build on our pantry-prep idea and keep your kitchen stocked with your key essentials. By having this “in-house convenience store,” you not only save money by avoiding mad dashes to the grocer, but you also increase opportunities for home cooking, avoiding processed convenience foods.

Every month we check our farm pantry check-list and make notes of anything we’re running low on for our next stock-up trip to Willy Street, our food co-op in Madison, Wisconsin.

2. Use It Up

There’s a prerequisite for keeping a stocked pantry: Use up stocked items. While we do want to keep our pantry stocked to encourage home cooking, we also try to exhaust everything regularly to avoid it going stale. This is easy with staples we use frequently, such as flour or sugar, but we need to remind ourselves to use up the quinoa or hemp seeds we bought on a health whim. Winter can be the perfect time to clear out the pantry and avoid food waste by experimenting with new recipes.

Lisa found a rather large jar of nutritional yeast (again, one of those health whims in the bulk foods aisle) and has been sprinkling it on top of many things including popcorn and casseroles. She finds it adds not only a nutritional punch, but also an interesting, nutty flavor.

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3. Green One More Ingredient

Every year we identify a different ingredient—something we use regularly but don’t grow on the farm—and see how we can improve its sourcing. Ideally, we want to buy local and direct from a farmer or producer or support companies or cooperatives that treat their farmers and workers fairly.

This year, we’re taking on cooking oil. While we’ve bought organic canola oil from Spectrum (this is important to us, as much canola oil comes from GMO seed), we’ve heard about several Wisconsin-grown, organic sunflower-oil operations, such as Driftless Organics. Dubbed the “olive oil of the Midwest,” this oil also offers stronger nutritional value by being low in saturated fats with almost no trans fats.

4. Greens at Every Meal

Green will also appear more on our plate in 2014. Whether it’s fresh romaine lettuce from the summer garden or frozen spinach greens in January, we plan to add something green to every meal. Greens, especially kale, add low-calorie and nutritional bulk to your plate (to help offset the effects of the whipped cream and buttery holidays).

5. Be a Farmsteadtarian

An ongoing goal of ours that we write about in our cookbook, Farmstead Chef, is to eat “farmsteadtarian.” That means knowing the source of our food and buying direct from local farmers whenever possible. Farmsteadtarian is a philosophy, mindset and principle on our healthy-eating journey—one resolution that never will be completed or checked off. But this lack of “resolution of the resolution” is a good thing: As the number of farmers and food artisans practicing sustainable and organic agriculture increase, our farmsteadtarian options continue to grow.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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