Cheers to another great year in the kitchen | Photo by Cottonbro on Pexels

Ring In the New Year With These Immediate and Considerate Food Resolutions

Make a case for better eating, cooking, and caring in the heart of your home

As the world bids farewell to a year of mixed emotions and outcomes, it’s time to take a swing at COVID-19 with resolutions that you can truly sink your teeth into — all starting with food.

Granted, there’s always something to look forward to in the kitchen, whether big or small, worthy of celebration.

And so, you know all too well that there’s always plenty of room for improvement, and many things to be excited about changing for the better.

While fitness goals and healthy eating are — sigh, once again this year — bound to make a joint venture, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t jump on the bandwagon, right away.

And if you’re still on the fence about making good on your promises, it’s really not a big deal.

Don’t forget: Most resolutions are ditched even before they’re started, for they’re too front-heavy with ambition.

With fewer folks committing to rigid and hardcore resolutions for 2022, it’s safe to say that you’ll be just fine playing it safe, yet sound, in and around the kitchen.

To which, once more, you can broadcast your slogan — “It’s a new year, a new me” — to set the scene for a superb culinary renaissance.

You Can Do it: Work Through all of Those Canned Goods

Having just weathered through a global supply-chain disruption, home cupboards across the map could very well give the grocery store’s canned section a run for its money.

And yours is probably looking mighty fine and full, too.

Why not then get off on an easy and quick foot by tackling the great wall of canned goods, first and foremost.

But not once and for all — because canned goods are too good to not have around, so they’ll continue into the new year.

Already cooked, however, they’re a recipe for success.

Whether it’s a matter of neglected cans of artichoke hearts or dreaded containers of white tuna, either one of them yet anticipates your next meal preparation.

And, in fact, the aforementioned two are quite the tasty match — simply add them both to a pasta dish, and you’re set for the Mediterranean.

As you sift through and take stock of what you have, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with all of the possible pairings.

Here’s some food for thought: Incorporate, at least, one canned ingredient into either your breakfast, lunch, or dinner each day.

And before you know it, you’ll not only clear room in your cupboard and pantry spaces, but you’ll also be relieved of some cooking action.

Put Those Condiments and Sauces to Good Use

Living in the same area of the wonderful cans, chances are the neighbours are glass jars and bottles.

In the sprawling suburb of condiments and sauces, they either come in doubles, triples, and more, as is easily the case — no pun intended — with Costco buys.

First, take a look at which ones are nearing their best before dates, however.

It’s likely that either one or more of them already passed their respective dates before the count down, but it’s not an issue.

Just figure out which ones you’d like to consume; set them aside and open them up for a multisensory inspection — most will be perfectly fine to use.

While both condiments and sauces are most often considered and consumed independently, you’ll get through more of them if you rather actively and regularly include them in your cooking.

However, as sold and marketed as mostly single-use products, such as ketchup and mustard, it’s easy to see how they’re limited as such.

In particular, from the sweeter end — green relish and peach chutney, for instance — use beyond their primary application is tough.

You scratch your head: How on earth does one go about cooking with sweet green relish?

But the key is to try to incorporate such ingredients into more of your cooking.

See where they fit, and you’ll be really surprised when you start to use them in place of sugar in a typical recipe, for instance.

If you’re looking for a slight hint of sweetness and acidity, a prudent spoonful of the relish would work well to finish off a Thai green curry.

Determine if you can use your extra condiments and sauces with the canned products, too.

With that, you’re on the path for terrific compound movements — and they’re a lot more fun than the physical exercise kind.

To that end, it’s only a matter of adding in fresh produce, meat, and dairy, to compose a complete meal.

While it’s yet certainly a stretch to get through a whole jar of peanut satay sauce in one go, for instance, if you don’t think you’ll be using it until 2023, give it away.

Towards a Better Meal Plan and Food Storage

Whether you have a “sole proprietorship in your kitchen” or a new plant-based “start-up” in your portfolio, food resolutions, revamps, and reviews are always much-needed in theory and in practice.

We all have a visceral reaction when it comes to our relationships with food, as varied and rich as they are.

And yet, there’s always a good time to reconsider your relationships.

Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to have more structure in said relationships.

And rightly so — we all deserve more structure in our lives, especially during such uncertain times.

While still fresh in memory, you were probably more structured than ever before, not too long ago, planning out three major food events — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Truth is, you might have given more attention to them than your very own daily and weekly food events.

Go figure: Meal planning is either on your mind that you can taste your last meal of 2021 or it’s at the back of it, as you overcome the hangover.

But either way, keep the ball rolling — as grand as The Times Square Ball Drop — because portion management, grocery spending, and food waste are all just as monumental and important.

And they connect with meal planning, whether haphazardly or meticulously arranged.

With New Year’s sales, discounts, and deals ongoing, why not pick up a sizeable and durable set of food containers to store your meals.

Although more expensive than their plastic counterparts, glass containers are a better investment — for you and for the environment.

You both deserve better this year.

And what better way to reduce your plastic footprint than to usher in the new year with a beautiful glass set.

Related: The 10 Best Glass Food Storage Containers in 2021.

By having these around — being able to clearly see through the glass — you’ll be more apt to fill them, plus keep track of what’s inside of them.

You won’t need to worry about plastic chemicals leaching into your food while reheating your meals, either.

Make this the year that you treat yourself with glass containers that won’t cling onto food odours, discolour, and display scratches as a plastic food container would.

You’ll be happier to eat your leftovers, and you’ll enjoy meal planning at that.

Take Away Your Takeaway — In Moderation

Fast food and restaurant grub: Convenience, relaxation, and deliciousness.

While food delivery, well, delivers all of that — okay, it’s not perfect every time — the best benefit-versus-feature is arguably the no-cleaning-up part.

And after a long, hard workday — throw in an errand or two, namely grocery shopping — outsourcing dinner preparation is easily justified.

But you already know that there’s some food left in the fridge that will otherwise go to waste tomorrow.

And you fully admit that a trip to the grocery store and a meal at home comes with greater financial responsibility, too.

Critically, you’ve also got a working meal plan, and you’ve looked at your available groceries, as previously discussed.

As with healthy eating, moderation is key — and the delivery kind is no exception.

Moderate such impulses — they are impulse purchases, after all — by cutting down on spontaneous and “hangry” decisions.

If you have a plan in place, you’ll be more firm and acquainted with it, accountable for cost implications associated with opting for takeout.

With the same cost of a one-off meal, you’d otherwise be able to make about three or more of them if you were to do the cooking.

Considering this multiple, you’d be best to take a step back, reevaluating how negative this would impact your overall finances for the new year.

And sure, at the time, they resemble one-off affairs, but it’s hard to overlook the compound environmental costs still incurred by ordering takeout.

The plastic cutlery, the disposable containers, and the required transportation — none of it is environmentally sustainable or mindful.

Rather, this year, learn to recreate your takeout favourites at home.

From Chinese to Mexican, you can try your hand at the classics, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for much longer, with a healthier angle, too.

With most of us happy to start a new chapter of our lives, how are you hoping to change in the kitchen this year?

If you’ve always aspired to be the chef of your home, look no further than these six traits that you can add to your bucket list of resolutions.

Related: The Small Apartment Kitchen: Change the Way You Think to Gain More Space

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