It’s kind of tough being a foodie in January. Around the holidays it's all single origin chocolate bars and small batch eggnog, but come January 1, it’s a whole different story. Suddenly, those same people who wanted to gab on about heirloom bacon and gossip about who has the best seasonal cocktail menu are suddenly teetotalers and cleansers, giving up their lardons and bourbons for kale and green smoothies.
It's hard not to swing to the extremes that come so easily this time of year. So let us offer some suggestions for a different (dare I say better?) kinds of resolutions this year—that will be better for you and the planet.
- Shift 10 percent of your food budget to local food. This could be the most important resolution you ever make. Buying locally ensures that the farmers who will save our sorry butts when the next revolution/apocalypse/fiscal cliff comes will still be around when we need them. It also helps us to think, eat, and act more seasonally, which is better for our environment, our bodies, our communities and our wallets, to be honest. Can’t make the commitment to 10 percent? Try five percent. Or one percent. Or just shift to buying one thing locally that you currently buy from somewhere else. It makes a difference.
- Eat more veggies. Rather than proclaiming that you’re going to lose 20 pounds or run a marathon or get back into your skinny jeans, why not simply resolve to put a vegetable on your plate at every meal? That’s right: every single meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. How different would your diet be if you did that? I don’t care if they’re bacon roasted Brussels sprouts or carrots drenched in butter; it’s a step in the right direction (and a delicious one, I might add).
- Give up chains. Do you eat out a lot? Do you mostly eat at locally owned restaurants, or at mega chain restaurants? It's important to patronize the locally-owned places you have so that those business owners can thrive and more can come in to your neighborhood. If you don't visit local restaurants, you can't complain that there's nowhere good to eat.
- Give locally made gifts. Yes, I’m aware that the holiday season is just about over. But people have birthdays, you know! If you don't make your own gifts, try commiting to buying gifts that are locally made or from locally owned stores. When you buy things from businesses in your community, more of your dollar stays in your town.
- Give to a food bank at a time other than the holidays. People need food year-round, but food banks are often desparate for donations during the summer. If you like to clip coupons, check out the site CouponMom.com, which encourages you to use coupons to buy things for free or just a few pennies and donate them to charity.
- When you can't buy local, buy organic. You know the drill: you should always buy your milk, peanut butter and “the dirty dozen” produce organic. But maybe you don't always do that. Make a resolution to adjust your food budget to make those organic purchases you know you should be making.