Ah, New Year’s resolutions! However determined we may be to go to the gym five times a week or only cook healthy meals, life and inertia inevitably get in the way.
The key is to make some smaller, more realistic resolutions, and these 13 food-based ones are a brilliant starting point. They’re easy to keep, so you’ll feel good for doing it, which encourages you to do more things.
1. Clean out your fridge
Give your poor old fridge a fresh start to the year by clearing it out and washing it down – yes, even the darkest recesses of the vegetable drawer!
Chances are you’ve got some expired tomato paste or forgotten Christmas food lurking in there.
2. …And your food cupboards/pantry
What’s that lurking at the back of your pantry? Bread flour from 2017 that you bought when you swore you would religiously bake your own bread from now on?
Throw it out, along with the guilt at not sticking to another resolution. Take a good look at your store cupboard staples such as noodles, pasta, cocoa etc., and check the expiry dates.
3. Go through your spice rack
Herbs and spices are another thing where it’s easy to forget about the expiry date. Check the dates and toss that old jar of curry powder you’ve had for three years. Some spices are prone to bugs, so check for any insect activity while you’re at it.
4. Buy a really good knife
Quality knives make kitchen work so much easier. What do you do most of – chopping veggies? Slicing meat? Preparing fish? Choose a high-quality knife made for that purpose, and it will last you for years. Sabatier knives are my fave brand, but each cook has their own preferences.
5. …And keep it sharp
Look after your knife and it will look after you. Invest in a knife sharpener, or a traditional steel or sharpening stone. Keep your knife away from all your other knives, preferably hung up or on a magnetic block, and make sure to dry it properly before putting it away.
6. Swap one piece of junk food for a vegetable
For more of a challenge, go through your shopping trolley before you reach the checkout and swap one piece of junk food for a veggie. Just one, I promise!
7. Try a new recipe out of your comfort zone
Have you always wanted to make something but were scared of screwing it up? Do it anyway! You never know, it may become your new signature dish.
8. Try preparing meals in advance
This will make you feel very smug and virtuous. Make double the amount of a recipe, and portion it up into lidded plastic storage trays. That’s your lunch done for the next few days, and you’ve saved money.
9. Take a loved one out for a really fancy meal
Take someone you care about out for a great meal, and you’re also treating yourself at the same time!
10. Create a meal out of what you have instead of buying takeaway
Most of us have pasta, eggs and cheese in our homes, even if we don’t have much else. Use your creativity and rustle up a comforting pasta dish – you’ll save a fortune, and feel good about yourself.
11. Bake a treat for your co-workers
Make a tray of chocolate somethings to give to your co-workers and bask in the glow of their happy smiles all Monday long.
12. Master cooking a staple dish
Perhaps your rice or pasta always ends up soggy or too hard, but you’re just too lazy to care and eat it anyway. Make this year the time when you learn about how to cook your regular go-to properly.
13. Take pride in what you make
Post pics of your food to social media, ring your grandma and tell her she’d love what you made, bore your co-workers to death with tales of your kitchen exploits. Be proud about what you made!