Food Resolutions for 2020

I know, I know. We’re already deep into January, people have probably already forgotten half of their New Year’s resolutions, and really, resolutions are just overrated, right? Fortunately (?), I find setting and achieving food-based goals a lot easier than say, personal goals to exercise more or be more adventurous. It helps of course, that I’m easily enamored by food and am not a particularly picky eater. But I’ll take what I can get if it means being able to gloat at the end of the year about how I was able to achieve my resolutions.

I ate a lot of delicious things in 2019, as evidenced in my last post. This year, I want to continue that trend but, at the risk of sounding pretentiously millennial, also be more intentional about what I’m eating and what it does (or doesn’t) do for my body. Now that I’m in my third decade of life, I’m much more aware of how food affects my health. That’s not to say I won’t be eating delicious-but-are-opposite-of-healthy things, but when I do, I want to make it count. As for everyday meals, I want to be more conscious of my food choices, which brings me to my first food resolution:

Cook more (new recipes).

I started regularly cooking for myself when I was 19, which was when I first moved out of my college dorms and into proper apartment life. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about cooking, mostly through my own experimentation, but also through various recipes that I’ve searched up. Admittedly, since I moved in with my boyfriend last spring, my time in the kitchen has definitely decreased. Part of it is likely due to the fact that we live right next to a small downtown area with lots of food options, which make it dangerously convenient to just get takeout when we’re feeling lazy. But another part of it I think, is that eating out feels like the easiest way to spend quality time with each other.

I’m hoping to change that perspective a bit and also add some new recipes to my repertoire. Fortunately, my boyfriend also enjoys cooking so I hope we can spend more quality time in the kitchen together too (though I’ll probably need to turn a blind eye to whatever dubious cooking processes he brings with him).

My next resolution is simple, but oh-so-hard to implement sometimes, and that is to:

Exercise better portion control.

Again, this was less of an issue when I was only cooking for myself. But I’ve realized that there’s something about eating with another person that just seems to override whatever intentions I had about controlling my portions. When I was still living alone, this worked out all right as I typically would just let loose on weekends and then go back to my normal, eat-until-80%-full principle on weekdays. But now that I live with another person and eat with him on a near-daily basis, I think I unconsciously just eat more because I’ve associated it with spending quality time with people I care about. (Can you tell what my love language is yet?)

I’ve taken some steps to help with this, such as buying better-portioned bowls and also pre-portioning my food, rather than bring out the whole pot onto the table. It’s a work in progress, but I’m hopeful that being more intentional about this will help keep my waistline (and my pants) intact.

Maybe I should also consider NOT changing into sweatpants as soon as I get home to prevent overeating…

A friend left me her Instant Pot when she was moving abroad last year and since then, I’ve mostly used it to make rice or the occasional soup. This year though, I have a resolution to:

Use my Instant Pot for things other than rice.

With the plethora of Instant Pot recipes out on the interwebs, it’s really a shame not to make better use of it. Nothing wrong with making rice in it, but that just seems like a waste of a multifaceted appliance like the Instant Pot. I’ve already got my eye on several recipes, so it’s really just down to some logistical planning and grocery shopping.

I admit I’m not the most adventurous person out there, but with food it feels like less of a risk to be adventurous. One adventure I’d like to try embarking on this year is the re-adventure. Specifically:

Giving foods I dislike another chance.

This one is pretty major, given that I rarely dislike a food to the point of actively disliking them. But the ones I do dislike are ones that just haven’t gelled with my tastebuds. So things like cilantro, parsley, cooked carrots, and liver are up at the top of my list of foods I generally try to avoid. However! I was at a sushi restaurant last year that served up a dish featuring ankimo, or monkfish liver. I had serious doubts, but wanting to be polite and not offend the sushi chef who handmade and hand-delivered the dish in front of me, I ate it in one bite and was pleasantly surprised. I ate liver! Me! And it didn’t taste like garbage! Maybe I can do this!

It was a nice confirmation of my firm belief that for most foods, if you don’t like something, it’s probably because you haven’t had a good version of it. In the past, I definitely did operate on a double standard since I firmly believed things like cilantro and liver were just not meant to be delicious for me. But with the success I had with ankimo, I feel a bit more optimistic now and will pledge to go so far as to not remove pieces of cilantro from my pho or banh mi the next time I order them.

And in the spirit of going on re-adventures, my last food resolution for 2020 is this:

Order new dishes at familiar places.

We all have that one dish at that one place we always order. Why? Because we know it’s reliably delicious and even if everything else on the table is a fail, there’s at least one thing we know we can count on. But I do feel like I’ve kind of fallen into a food rut with our local eateries and this is a low-risk way of expanding my palate. If the risk doesn’t pay off, I can always just go back to what I usually order.

Here’s to more great eats and new food discoveries in 2020! I’d love to hear about any great food plans you have coming up or just general food ambitions, so please don’t be shy and share them in the comments.