My Intentional Food-Related Goals for 2012 (Q&A)

Happy New Year! 

I don’t buy into all the dietary hype that rolls around in January. I’ve never had a gym membership, and I don’t diet, period. However, after the holidays, my body starts craving winter salads and hearty soups and I naturally turn to common sense seasonal eating in the New Year.

I think most of us do, whether we are health conscious or not.

The start of a new year is a perfect time to reflect on past eating habits for the future. That’s what I’d love to discuss today.

January is also an ideal time to set a few goals for intentional healthy eating for the year. Below I’ll share mine, and then I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

My Food-Related Goals for 2012…

…in no particular order.

Plant a garden and harvest my own food.

Last year Danny built me four beautiful raised garden beds in the back yard (look for a tutorial on that project in the spring!). They are waiting under the snow, to be planted when the spring sun warms the soil. For now, I’m browsing seed catalogs and imagining the possibilities.

Source more food locally.

As much as I shop at markets, and my selective shopping continues to work well for me, there are still many more products that I know I can source from local purveyors. First up: organic honey.

Continue to eliminate fast food.

Avoiding fast food chains is a top priority for this family and has been for many years. My children have never eaten at McDonald’s and we easily went through 2011 with no meals consumed at a typical burger joint. I don’t see why 2012 would bring about any changes in this long-standing goal.

Inject more of my October Unprocessed project into everyday life.

Last fall I participated in Andrew’s mega Unprocessed challenge, along with thousands of others. Even though our household avoided processed foods for one ‘hard core’ week, it was inspiration enough to kick-start a daily effort of more scratch cooking and whole foods. 2012 will be the year that I focus more on intentionally eating unprocessed foods.

Continue to develop our family food culture.

In our actions, words and expressions, we are daily shaping how our children approach food. Helping them form a healthy, open, and educated attitude toward food is one of the most important gifts we can impart to them when they are young. This year, my husband and I will continue our journey to building a healthy family food culture.

Preserve more of my own food.

Last summer’s noble canning ambitions got waylayed when I found myself pregnant and exhausted during the peak produce seasons. I barely had enough energy to function, never mind put up quarts of tomatoes and peaches. I have no regrets for the summer, knowing I did what I could, but there’s no reason why 2012 can’t be a stellar canning year!

Eat well for baby and breastfeeding.

There’s nothing like being pregnant to keep one’s nutritional know-how up to date. Since I’ll be breastfeeding most of 2012, after this baby’s arrival in March, I’ll want to be sure that my body is adequately nourished to sustain my energy levels, as well as feed a growing baby.

Continue to eat well and spend less.

You’ll be happy to hear the popular monthly series, Eat Well, Spend Less, will continue through 2012. Look for many more relevant posts on important topics as we work to best nourish our families on a budget.

Now it’s your turn! In the comments section below, share your dietary goals for 2012 with us.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I would like to cook healthier food and plant more vegetables in our container garden this year.

  2. For the new year, I will stop going to the fast food places that were my sole source of nourishment for lunches (and lots of breakfasts) at work, and instead I will bring my breakfast and lunch from home. So far I have breakfasts ready for the next two weeks (today included – it was yummy), and my tuna is waiting in the breakroom fridge. Also, I will not be influenced by my husband’s limited palate into eating pizza and spaghetti all the time, but instead I will make healthy dinners of chicken or salmon or some such entree, and hopefully I’ll convince him by example to try new things. 🙂
    We only have a balcony, but last summer I grew my first container vegetables & I was surprised at how well they came in. This year I’ll plan even better for my little “garden”, and grow more.
    Happy New Year! Good luck to us all 🙂

  3. Incredibly thoughtful and profound post, Amy. Your young family is very fortunate to have you at the helm of the kitchen! I am truly inspired.

  4. You really nailed my food goals with the word Intentional. I have an ongoing struggle with weight (have kept 60 lbs off for 15 years, give or take a few for pregnancy, but I’m still hovering around the obese/overweight BMI border). This past year I gave up dieting and weight loss programs for good and decided to focus on my relationship with food. I’m convinced my problem is a lack of mindfulness in the way I eat (and do a lot of other things). I got sloppy the past few months but it’s time to refocus and work to start changing my habits on an internal level. We’ll see how that goes.

    Like you I focus quite a bit on eating seasonal, local foods, preserving what I can during the summer, and eliminating as many packaged foods as possible. Funny, when I”ve mentioned that to people I think they interpret that goal as getting rid of things like Hamburger Helper. I’ve seen some jaws drop when I clarify my success in making my own yogurt, bread, salad dressing, and ricotta. Ha!

  5. Sunchowder - Wendy Read says

    Such a perfect and well-timed post! I would so much enjoy being able to have a bit of a garden and harvest my own vegetables this year. With all my best intentions, I fear that I will not be able to do this. I am in the business of preserving and I love to preserve the harvest. I have done the next best thing and partnered with several local farmer’s to preserve the seasonal bounty. I am working to post more of my authentic recipes on my own blog this year so that I can share what I do with others that want to do the same. I believe this to be one of my main goals for 2012! Thanks so much for starting the conversation Aimee! I hope that I can contribute in some way this year to your canning ambitions 🙂

  6. Christina Vickers says

    I go through seasons of sugar addiction, the months between Halloween & New Years being the worst. This year, I am planning a post-season sugar calendar, intending to abstain from added sugar all but a few special occasions through the year. It may have to be modified, since this is my first attempt, but it also allows me a sweet treat here & there & gives me goals to work toward. I also want to attempt a garden again this year. Only a few of our tomato plants survived last year. I would love to have a calendar hat suggests the best time to plant particular veggies, & I’m very interested in the raised beds. Do raised beds mean you don’t have to till the plot?

    • I was just planning a ‘sugar purge’ in my kitchen today. There are so many sweets hanging around from the holidays. Sounds like we’re on the same page!

      Raised beds are two-foot high planters that are 4’x12′ and full of soil which still has to be turned in the spring. It’s more of a British way to garden, but having the beds higher does mean less grass and weeds get into the soil. We’ll have a tutorial in March!

  7. This year, I am going to continue to attempt to get me kids to eat my homemade yogurt and to continue to try to learn more about making things from scratch. Growing up in a house that didn’t EVER eat in is a challenge to overcome! I’d like our family to eat out less often. I’m trying to learn more about using organic local ingredients- oooh, and sprouting things to use in food…

  8. This year, I am going to continue to attempt to get my kids to eat my homemade yogurt and to continue to try to learn more about making things from scratch. Growing up in a house that didn’t EVER eat in is a challenge to overcome! I’d like our family to eat out less often. I’m trying to learn more about using organic local ingredients- oooh, and sprouting things to use in food…

  9. Jean Staines says

    My goal for this year is to switch my focus from calorie focused to nutrition focused and for the majority of my choices to be organic plant foods and whole grains. Empty calories are a wasted opportunity to improve overall health.
    I am a Grandma and have no small or growing children in my home but believe that my choices still have an influence on my children and grandchildren.
    I still want to continue my efforts at organic gardening, which is very difficult in Texas!
    I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year!

  10. i’m starting the new year out with a cleanse (not low-calorie but eliminating white sugar, bread, etc) to give my liver a break after the holiday. it’s becoming my new year’s tradition!

  11. We’ve never taken the girls to McD’s either. And a few months ago M said to me, “Do you know there is a place you can go where you get a meal that makes you happy?” My response was yes, the dining room table!

  12. i love all of your goals, and cannot wait to read about your progress. as we all navigate taking better care of ourselves, and our families, it is so wonderful to have a community of other like-minded bloggers out there. keep up the inspirational ideas and thoughtful posts. really enjoy them! – eila

  13. As much as I’ve enjoyed having a garden in the past, I don’t think it is going to be an option for us this year when we’ll either be keeping our house spotless as we show it, packing, unpacking or somewhere else in the middle of a move over the summer…that definitely makes me sad.

    Most of my goals revolve around Logan’s eating. He is already doing leaps and bounds better than 12 months ago but we still have a ways to go. I am going to continue with the way we introduced 1-2 new foods per month into his diet.

    As for me, I need to work on eating better lunches. I’m alone 3 days a week now all day and I often find myself snacking rather than sitting down to a balanced midday meal.

  14. This is a great list of things to be intentional about, Aimee. Also, literally seconds before I clicked on your post I commented to a friend on Facebook, “I don’t diet. Ever.” This only further proves we’re somehow connected. Love you, dear. Here’s to a fantastic 2012!

  15. I don’t buy into the diet hype either, and many of your food-related goals for 2012 are on my list as well! One of my additional goals is to start eating more meatless meals, both allowing us to eat healthier and to put our extra money toward good quality meat when we do eat it. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2012!

  16. I’m starting with a month of power foods – spinach, yogurt, salmon, blueberries, walnuts, avocados, pumpkin, legumes, etc. Less meat, less saturated fat, less alcohol. More water, more organic, more whole foods.
    Of course I’ve got that extra five pounds to loose, but I don’t want to focus on that, because it never gets me anywhere. We kicked things off last night with an amazing vegan dish – Braised Garlic-Ginger Tofu. I feel better already! 🙂 Here’s to good eating in 2012. I look forward to reading about your journey on Simple Bites!

    • Oh, I’m getting hungry just as you list those power foods! Due to the pregnancy, I’ve kicked alcohol =) but I could drink more water. Thanks for sharing!

  17. My food goals:
    Fine tuning a hummus dressing recipe
    Try a month gluten free
    Explore more making my own international dishes, this year will spotlight on Thai and Japanese foods.
    Honor my husband’s family tradition of tons of cookies and baked goods for the Thanksgiving to Christmas season
    Work in more vegetables into our diet
    Continue to eat seasonally
    Try falling in love with beets
    Preserve this summer (first time)

  18. I hope one day I’ll be able to plant a garden and harvest my own food as well. Living in the city makes that difficult but we are trying to do the best we can with the limited space we have.

  19. I’m nodding my head to all of your goals (except the breastfeeding one, obviously 🙂 ) – you’ve covered so many of my ongoing food projects and I can’t wait to follow along with you this year!

  20. These are great ideas! One of my big goals for the year is to grow as much food as I can (on my Manhattan balcony). I mapped out the plan today and am putting in my seed order this week. Cheers!

  21. My food goals for this year are too much for one little comment box!! Your blog has actually inspired me in many of them. I suppose what they all boil down to is that I want to be more food aware, both for me and my kids. I am finding it such a huge struggle to change my current mindset when it comes to food. However, I am working hard at it and researching and actually have a goal to move outside the city (just a bit) so we can have space enough to garden as well as raise some chickens. As a self proclaimed “city girl”, this goal continues to surprise me every time I think about it 😛

  22. Also, I am so happy you are continuing the Eat Well, Spend Less series. One of my favourites!

  23. I love this- especially as “Intentional” is my one little word for 2012. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait for your raised bed tutorial.

    • My food goals for the year are:
      – Add more green to our diet. Try some green smoothies.
      – Be more intentional about meal planning.
      – Eliminate all wheat from our diets.
      – Go back to organic produce delivery.

  24. A food blogger friend tweeted this post. It’s a great one. Lots of important stuff you touch on here. I write about living green on Cape Cod. Came to understand the importance of the changes your suggest through our local fight to prevent the utility company from a switch to herbicides for vegetation control under 150 miles of power lines, above a sole source aquifer. Will share your suggestions with my adult kids, for their children. Thanks!

  25. I too want to plant a better garden. Last year was my first year with a garden and I was over 9 months pregnant when I planted it. Yes, I was hoping to bring on labour 🙂 I did an alright job of keeping up with the weeds in some areas, but I scatter planted my carrots, beets and lettuces so I couldn’t weed them very well. This year, I will be planting those items in rows so I can keep track of them better, I will stake up my peas before they are blossoming, and I will try to start my tomatoes earlier indoors and make them shorter and stronger.
    Thank you for the post!

  26. Mindful eating. I have learned to love having a garden and knowing where my food has been. I want to eat less processed foods and healthier choices, more fruits and veggies. Good post.

  27. Such great goals!
    We took a stab at eating healthier last summer, but fall gave way to the holidays… This year we are trying to determine some food sensitivities, so we are basically cutting out ALL processed foods for a bit, sticking to mainly fruits, veggies, and slowly adding back in nuts, dairy, eggs, and a few whole grains. Oh, we will add back meat as well, but in limited quantities and locally sourced.
    We hope to pinpoint the cause of hubby’s sleep apnea, as well as lose some excess “baggage”!

  28. I don’t go out to coffee a lot- but I’m going to have iced coffee waiting in the fridge- this will ease temptation…and more peanut butter and jam on whole wheat for my kids!!!

  29. These sound very similar to my food goals for the year. I hope to have a bigger garden and preserve more this summer. Staying away from the fast food is a biggie for me since it’s so easy to just grab something after a long day, especially on evenings when I’m home alone.

  30. Alexis @ There She Goes says

    i would love to plant a garden (or maybe just some herbs/tomatoes) this year!

  31. I love all of your goals for the new year. in 2010 I had a beautiful garden that we harvested from, but last year my job did allow for much time so I am excited that I will able to harvest fresh veggies again this year with the boys. I can’t wait to read more about yours. Happy New Year sweetie! xoxo

  32. I’m spending the week thinking through our food goals, too! Our “continuing goals” include seasonal eating. My new goals for 2012 include:
    – Plant a garden
    – Find new sources for local veggies, meats, and eggs after we move
    – Serve veggies with every dinner (I am a side dish slacker, but last night we met this goal with green smoothies!)
    – Plan two meatless dinners per week
    – Find a homemade chicken nugget recipe that freezes well
    – Try a week gluten free??

    …and we are LOVING our local honey this winter. Purchased from our close friends. My kids are eating PB&Honey everyday for school, and I’m convinced it is helping boost the immune systems.

  33. Love your food goals…very inspiring! I think the idea of intentionally eating unprocessed foods is particularly calling out to me. Some of my other food resolutions for 2012 include finding a fish recipe my eldest daughter will actually eat, tackling Julia Child’s lobster thermidor, canning/preserving, and potentially going to pastry school (eeek!) Hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. Happy New Year!

  34. I’m so happy to discover that there are so many people who make food-specific goals! I’m a big fan of goals, even if I didn’t do so well with them last year. But now, I have a whole new year to focus on. 🙂 In my “goals” post, I talked about a few of them, but I started canning/food preserving last year and plan to continue this year.

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