If you're like many Americans, you probably made a resolution (or two or three). And there's also a pretty good chance that your resolution had something to do with eating healthier and/or dieting. Earlier today, Time Magazine published a story about the Top 10 most commonly broken New Year's resolutions, and - no big surprise - eating healthier and/or dieting is on the list.
I like to think that the gluten-free community knows a thing or two about sticking to a diet or lifestyle for the sake of one's health. Then again, adhering to a gluten-free diet is one thing. Making good on a resolution to make that gluten-free diet healthier than it was last year is quite another. And so, we offer you these 10 tips for resilient resolutions; advice that you can implement today so that you can still be successful eating healthier tomorrow.
What you'll hopefully notice in this list are that a) none of our tips are earth-shattering, and b) many of them are remarkably small dietary modifications. We think those two elements are keys to success. If you can easily integrate a change into your daily routine and lifestyle, is stands that much better a chance of becoming routine, and routine is what gives us consistency day to day, month to month, and year to year, so that when 2011 kicks over to 2012, you don't find yourself making the same New Year's resolution you made this year, because somewhere along the line, you fell off the tracks.
And so, without further ado...
1. If you use white rice flour in your gluten-free baking, make the switch to whole grain brown rice flour. It's less refined and much better for you nutritionally.
2. If your gluten-free carbohydrate intake consists of just three words - rice, corn and potatoes - work a serving of quinoa into your lunches and dinners once a week.
3. If you drink sugar-laden soda with lunch, swap it for a glass of water. If you drink two cans of soda during the day, downsize to just one. Juices can also contain lots of sugar. Try cutting your juice 50/50 with seltzer or sparkling water to make a refreshing fruit spritzer.
4. If you're a meat and potatoes kind of guy (or gal), downsize the portion of meat on your plate, and supersize the portion of veggies.
5. If you get hungry between meals and desire a snack, skip the refined, nutritionally poor store-bought gluten-free cookies and crackers. Instead, reach for a piece of fruit. Citrus (oranges!) is in season right now. When apples are at their peak, try spreading some natural peanut butter on apple slices. Or grab a handful of nuts or seeds.
6. Whether you cook and bake with dairy (i.e. butter) or non-dairy alternatives (i.e. vegan shortening), avoid the hydrogenated imitation stuff (i.e. margarine), and reach for the natural and/or non-hydrogenated "real thing."
7. Go the small extra mile to boost nutrition and sneak more variety (and nutrients) into your average, everyday meals. Add some sliced, roasted beets to a green salad, or sauteed diced peppers and onions to a basic tomato pasta sauce, for example.
8. Meal plan. Plan your dinners for the upcoming week ahead of time. You'll have a more focused shop at the grocery store, you'll have less food waste and spoiled foods that sat in the back of your fridge for too long, and you'll incorporate more variety and excitement into your meals instead of eating the same old thing every week.
9. Find inspiration. Maybe it's a favorite Food Network show, or a particular blogger's recipes. But find something that gets you excited about food, and bring that excitement into your own kitchen.
10. Live a little and enjoy a baked treat, a glass of wine, a piece of rich chocolate, whatever your personal indulgence is. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life a little! And, occasionally enjoying your personal guilty pleasure will help you avoid falling off the wagon and bingeing on it when you do get the chance.
To a happy, healthy, gluten-free 2011...