(originally published January 2017, updated for 2018 tips)
Now that the new year is upon us, we can set our sights, our expectations, our plans, and our goals accordingly. Make the time to also set food experience goals for the year. Perhaps you are just beginning to do so, and are not quite sure how to get started. Perhaps you had a great year of positive food experiences, and want to keep that going or you want to kick it up a notch. Here are some ways to do so.
Challenge yourself by making informed food decisions.
We all have a tendency to just grab some food from the shelf without giving it a lot of thought. With the new year ahead, you may want to make the time to read food labels better, and to learn new information about the benefits of eating various foods. These may be foods you already eat. These may be foods that you want to incorporate into your daily food intake. With the plethora of information out there via the Internet, books, magazines, newspapers, or other sources, it is easier than ever to access food information. When you make those informed decisions, you benefit yourself and those with whom you eat.
Bring others on the bandwagon.
When you find new food information, whether it is a new cooking technique or new recipe, don’t keep it to yourself – share it with others. As a family, as a group, or other situation, you could take a cooking class together. You can have a potluck dinner where guests not only bring a dish to share, but they also bring the recipe and/or demonstrate how they prepared it. Perhaps you can all make a certain dish at home together.
Set food experience goals.
Get out of your comfort zone. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, tone up, try a new eating regimen (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.), learn how to make sushi, or any other goal, write those goals down and commit yourself to achieving them. Many people make New Year’s resolutions, but few people actually keep those resolutions. They often chalk it up to wishful thinking or a busy schedule that became out of control. Often a major reason is that the goals are not realistic, or we do not truly commit ourselves to making them happen. The acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-based (different acronym variations exist depending on the source), may be helpful in forming your food experience goals.
Document your food experiences.
Write them down. Whether you created a recipe, cooked a new type of food, or prepared a time-honored family recipe, write down that information. Write down not only what you prepared, but how you prepared it. Here are some thought prompts:
- What did you cook?
- How did you feel about it?
- Describe the cooking techniques you used.
- What new things did you learn through that experience?
- Describe the interactions you had with the food.
- What goals have you set because of that experience?
- What will you do differently because of that experience?
You can document these experiences in a number of ways. Write them in a notebook. Make an audio recording or video clip of your experiences. If you are musical, you may even create a song about your experiences. Do whatever is realistic for you, but just document it so that you can go back to review and reflect on that experience as you learn from it and share it with others.
As you document your food experiences, you build your food knowledge. You involve people in the experience. You can create an environment conducive to positive food experiences. Perhaps you can build your cooking skills and techniques. You can develop our interaction with the food. You can be more motivated to set goals accordingly, and to understand your experiences and learn from them.
We look forward to sharing with you in your experiences during the coming year. Cheers!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What are some ways that you will usher in the new year with positive food experiences?