Resolve to Improve Your Diet in Five Easy Steps

Resolve to Improve Your Diet in Five Easy Steps

You’ve resolved eat better in the New Year. Setting goals around the new year is as common as failed diets. Often, resolutions are too vague and don’t include specific enough steps to ensure success. “Eat better” is not going to help you enliven your meals or build better eating habits.

Follow these 5 easy steps and better, more healthful, delicious and money-saving eating will help you achieve your goal. What are you waiting for?

Step One – Incorporate Meatless Meals

The Meatless Monday trend goes far beyond the vegan fringe. Everyone’s getting on this fun way of shaking up your menu planning. Even hopeless carnivores like author Kim O’Donnel, whose mother gave her a bone for a teething ring, have adopted some regular meatless meals into their diet. It’s time to stop thinking of vegetarian meals as deprivation. It’s not what you’re omitting (meat along with its saturated fat and cholesterol) but what you’re adding that’s getting people’s heads turned around.

New adventures in meat-free eating are causing some to re-think their weekly menu plans. Looking through O’Donnel’s Meat Lovers Meatless Cookbook – Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores will Devour (see New Tools for Eco-friendly Eating) offers many options for satisfying vegetarian meals. The Shepherd’s Pie is an example of a recipe that reinterprets a traditional dish in a surprising way. (Wine-braised lentils, Swiss Chard, and a caramelized onion gravy had one table full of carnivores clamoring for seconds.) Try these chips in place of your standard snack.

Kale Chips (very slightly adapted from Meat lover’s Meatless Cookbook recipe)


  • One bunch of lacinato or dinosaur kale.
  • Zip the leaves from the stems by pinching the leaves down near the base of the stem and pulling toward the tip.
  • Rinse and spin leaves dry.
  • Toss with 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp red chili flakes, 1/8 tsp of chipotle powder.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven about 8 minutes until crisp.

For step-by-step photo-recipe of these chips see What’s all this about Kale Chips?

Step Two – Improve Your Knife Skills

One of the reasons that many people pick up the phone and order takeout or delivery is that they think of cooking as a chore. Cooking feels less than fun when you don’t know how to use a knife efficiently. Proper knife skills not only make food cook more evenly and make it look more attractive, they also cut down the time it takes you to cook. With the acclaimed new book, Complete Book of Knife Skills, by Jeffrey Elliot and James P DeWan you get step-by-step photography (with helpful graphics focusing you on the teaching point).

Don’t know the difference between a brunoise (dice) and a batonette (think celery stick)? You’re not alone and this book teaches you these as well as carving skills, filleting fish, pit and chop a mango, section an orange (“supremes”) or carving a turkey. You CAN make cuts like a pro, this book shows you how.

This book, spiral-bound so that the pages lie flat, is like having a tutor with you in the kitchen. Clear photos show the correct and incorrect way to do various cuts. You can also see the author in action here on Becoming more skilled at wielding your knife, you’ll find more joy in cooking healthy meals at home.

Step Three – Join the DIY Trend, Save Money and Eat Better

You’re intrigued by the canning revolution. It seems that everyone is making pickles, jams and jellies. But do you have buy a bunch of canning equipment? No. Do you have to start baking bread from scratch? Not really, but it’s not hard and you’ll pay just pennies for wholesome fresh bread if you do. Would you give it try if you could save money and make delicious meals from scratch? Would you know where to start?

How about homemade granola in less time than it takes you to drive or walk to a store to buy it? DIY pet food? DIY pizza, pickles, bread, they’re all here.

DIY Delicious is a friendly guide that makes it all seem so easy. Inspired by a visit to her Aunt Mil’s house with its well-stocked pantry, Barrington set out introduce herself and others to the joys of home made foods we’ve grown accustomed to buying. More and more we’ve seen health consequences from processed and packaged goods, the time is ripe for trying a little DIY in your own kitchen.

Step Four – Try Eating from Another Culture

Starting to get in a rut? No time or money to travel? Why not shake things up by cooking from a new culture? Add a dish from Korea or Japan. The gorgeous new Cuisine of Korea can show you simple recipes to incorporate in your regular rotation. In fact, you can cover three trends at once. Make a meatless meal, pickle your own Kimchi and serve an authentic DIY Korean dish. Yongja Kim, the author is well-known in Korea and only just making inroads in the US. This cookbook could do for Korean cooking what Joyce Chen did for Chinese. She attributes the slim figure of many Koreans to their healthful food. With its emphasis on seasonal, homemade foods and the ever-present kimchi (fermented goodness for your body), you’re sure to find joy in this cuisine.

Step Five – Slow Down, Eat Soup!

Not only is soup great to eat when it’s cold, but eating a bowl of soup before your meal can help you reduce the amount of calories you take in. It’s true that satiety, that signal that tells your brain you’re full, takes twenty minutes to register in your brain. The mere act of slowly sipping soup gives you a head start on that 20 minute delay between stomach and brain.

Digging into a plate of food when you’re hungry, you’re much more likely to overeat. Your brain simply can’t catch up, but slowly savoring a bowl of soup will give it a fighting chance. The New Book of Soups from the Culinary Institute of America is newly updated and expanded in this second edition with step-by-step techniques and recipes from etoufee to chowder, waterzooi to udon. It even includes garnishes and accompaniments such as biscuits and crackers, pistou and harissa.

Cooking at home, incorporating meatless meals and adding foods from healthy cultures, adopting a DIY attitude and enjoying a good bowl of soup are all ways to increase variety and nutrition in your menus. Avoiding the saturated fats and sodium of takeout foods will go a long way to meeting your healthy eating resolutions!

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition