Dieting is the quintessential New Year's resolution. In the new year, aim to have a more positive relationship with food rather than a restrictive one. Food is an important way to experience culture, tradition and community, so think of your food resolutions as an exciting bucket list that will open your eyes to new dishes and perhaps a hobby of cooking. Consider the following as positive additions to your new year that can benefit your wallet, worldview and relationships with people and food.

Restaurant Eating

1. When you're in a new city, try a local spot

soup, corn, chowder, Lunch, cafe, Restaurant, Kitchen
Alex Frank

If you decide to dine out this year, skip the chain restaurant for a night and head to a local spot. Not sure where to start? The best resource is someone that lives in the area, even if it's a cashier at the gas station. Chances are, they've already scoped out the good places. If you're just pulling over in a town, Yelp is a great resource for finding the perfect place. Find out what the city does best and revel in the new experience. An added bonus of eating in a local place is the atmosphere and conversation that come with it.  

2. Learn to make your favorite restaurant recipe at home

#foodporn, #photography, #shreddedcheese, #pizza, #food, #cheese, #cooking
Yasmeen Aboulhawa

If you stop at Chick-fil-A every time you want nuggets, you'll spend a ton of money and time in line for the food. Instead, look for alternatives for your favorite restaurant dish when the cravings hit. Most times, recipes are available online for any dish your heart desires. For example, instead of waiting for and spending money on nuggets everyday, invest in a bag of frozen nuggets from a grocery store, and save the sauces or make your own. This way you can portion exactly how many you want and you can spend time studying while they cook, rather than standing in line. Often times, recipes can be healthier versions of your favorite take-out food, so it's a win-win!


3. Be present when you eat 

soup, vegetable, meat, beef, pork
Shun Matsuhashi

When life gets hectic, it's so easy to eat while studying, texting, or even watching TV. Resolve to pay attention to and savor the meal in front of you. Often times, we get so caught up in our distractions while eating that we barely process the taste of our meal. Besides, you spent money and time to make or obtain the food, so it's worth investing a little bit of time for enjoyment. Mealtime is a great opportunity to reflect upon the day or talk with those around you, face-to-face. Try to have one meal a day without distractions other than people and the environment around you.

4. Make resolutions that focus on health in ways other than restricting certain food items

chocolate, ice, cream, ice cream, chocolate ice cream, waffle, wafer, gelato
Amelia Hitchens

As mentioned before, resolutions often revolve around dieting and weight loss. Prohibiting yourself from eating all desserts or all fried food just establishes a negative relationship with food. Often times, deprivation just leads to you thinking about the restricted food more than before, because you can't have it.

Although it is easier said than done, create a positive relationship with food in 2019. Attempt to disassociate feelings of guilt with food that may be unhealthy. If you feel the need to limit a type of food, try for moderation rather than cutting it out altogether. Research on how to combat food guilt can be found at


5. Try your hand at hosting a potluck

vegetable, meat, rice, Macaroni and cheese, Mac And Cheese, macaroni, cheesy
Julia Gilman

A party centered around food? What could be better? Potlucks bring people together to share dishes that they made. Each person is encouraged to bring a dish, typically home-cooked. This way, you can experience a variety of family recipes, cultural dishes and share the stories behind the dishes. You can enjoy what each person made while spending time with friends, and in my history of attending and hosting many potlucks, they are as rewarding as they are fulfilling. 

6. Ask a relative or friend to send you a tried-and-true recipe 

Judy Chen

When you've run out of recipe ideas, the best resource can be someone you know. Try your hand at the lasagna your grandmother has perfected over the years, or the green bean casserole your best friend's family makes when you go over. The recipes are more personal rather than just shooting in the dark for a recipe online. Favorite recipes are guaranteed tried-and-true. Plus, the person you ask for help will appreciate they can share a bit of their expertise with you. 


7. Try to adopt a new fruit or vegetable into your diet

sweet, Whole Foods Market, Whole Foods, Fruit, mango, orange, kiwi, blueberry, jar of fruit, strawberries, strawberry, grape
Shelby Cohron

A positive change can be adding a new nutritious food to your diet. Explore the produce section on your grocery trip and see what item may appeal to you. You'll expand your palate while eating healthily.

8. If you have time, make coffee at home

mug, Chic, coffee, succulents, coffee mug
Arpitha Shenoy

Finally, many of us run on to-go coffee. Investing in a coffee maker or cold brew concentrate (no machine required), eliminates plastic waste, saves about $4 daily and you don't have to fight the morning crowds in a shop. Experiment with different types of beans at home and have the liberty to add milk and sweetener to your own liking.

With these resolutions in mind, focus on creating a positive food experience in 2019. Food is a gateway to communities, traditions and trying new things to make a more knowledgable you.