It's been more than two weeks since we rang in 2016, and for many of us, it's at least one week since we gave up on our New Year's resolutions.
I felt bad about it, but not for long because my one of new New Year's resolutions is to not beat myself up over not sticking with my old New Year's resolutions.
Like many of you, my resolutions tend to fit into the classic "reach for the stars" category. I'm going to become a whole new person. I'll lose all the holiday weight, plus a few extra pounds. I'll exercise every day. I'll watch TV less and read more. I'll organize my entire house and I'll do it all before February. Boy, was I going to feel good about myself.
It was a great plan, right up until about a week after New Year's, when I hadn't made any progress on my lofty goals and was starting to get a little down in the mouth about it. After all, if I was trying to be a brand-new "me" in less than a month and I wasted the first week, how could I hope to succeed?
Then I had a brilliant thought (well, brilliant to me). It didn't have to be New Year's Day for me to make a resolution. Any day of the year works. In fact, I would argue that it might make more sense to make, or at least revise, your resolutions a couple of weeks after the holidays. That gives you a chance to stop obsessing about how many calories you consumed in cookies over the past month and start to take a more realistic look at how this year can be better than the last.
For many of us, the resolution to lose weight tops the list. While it's a worthwhile objective, it also can be discouraging if we don't hit our desired number in the allotted time we have given ourselves. What if we decided to eat healthier instead? This can still be a measurable goal and one that can benefit the entire family rather than focusing on only one person.
For instance, cutting out fast food, deciding to cook at least four to five dinners a week and packing healthful lunches for school and work are all goals that can make a big difference in your family's diet without making you crazy.
Of course, your goals need to work for you. If you never eat fast food, than perhaps vowing to work more organic foods into your daily meal plan might make more sense. Or increase the amount of fruits and vegetables your family eats. You get the idea; just make sure the goal is attainable.
One of my goals is to focus more on superfoods when cooking for my family. Blueberry smoothies for breakfast, spinach salads for lunch and almonds for snacking will all be happening more frequently in my house.
For dinner this week, I was craving comfort food, but rather than meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I chose a lean protein, in this case chicken breasts, browned and bathed in a flavorful cider-mustard sauce, and paired with a hearty portion of sautéed sweet potatoes (packed with beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C) and apples. It was a colorful, healthful and satisfying meal that took less than 30 minutes to prepare. My family enjoyed every bite and I resolved to make it again soon. Now that's a resolution I can keep.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@ meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.