While driving around town after New Year's Eve, I must have passed about 10 runners in 10 minutes. Every year, it seems as though "getting in shape," "cutting carbs" or some other iteration of losing weight are among the most popular New Year's resolutions. Although I am a fan of exercise and healthy eating, I am also a strong opponent of committing to either of these habits stringently—or even unhealthy—with the sole design of losing weight. Instead, let's make 2020 and every year a time to celebrate our love for food and movement. These 5 New Year's resolutions can help you achieve just that.

1. Try a new recipe once a week

Exploring different recipes is an incredible way to step out of your comfort zone and connect to your history and culture as well as that of others. Maybe start by calling your mom and getting her to send you that coveted family recipe. Or, you can look up new ways to make your favorite dishes. The internet offers an endless array of options, and perhaps you can open that cookbook that's been collecting dust for years. In 2019, I personally tried numerous methods of making pancakes, brownies, stir-fries, and more, and I could not have had a better time. Let your culinary adventures begin. 

2. Cook more of your own meals

This one pairs well with trying out new recipes. I've found that cooking your own meals can be one of the most rewarding and relaxing ways to pass the time. Not only do you have control over what goes into your food, but you can also get to foster a new (and fairly impressive) skill. And that's not all: cooking or baking your own meals is an incredible way to save money (so if that's among your New Year's resolutions, you can kill two birds with one stone). 

3. Eat more meals with friends and family

Spending time with friends and family is probably one of (if not the most) important parts of life. Too often, unhealthy and stringent fad diets can interfere with the quality time we spend with the people we love. Whether you are putting your newfound cooking skills to use or are heading out to try a new brunch spot, allow yourself to fully invest in the joy of sharing a meal without reservations about calories or macros. 

4. Eat more sustainably 

I would never advocate for assigning a moral value to food (chocolate is no more bad or good than carrots and hummus). However, some foods are definitely better when it comes to mother earth. Trying to incorporate more whole, plant-based food into your diet and cutting down on red meat is a definite way to help our planet. While you're at it, do your own research on sustainable food to see what works best for you. 

5. Work out when it feels right

Forcing yourself to work out because you feel like you should is not a healthy mindset. Working out should be fairly stress-free. Focus on how your body feels. Do you really want to go on a run right now, or do you just feel like you need to burn calories? And try new workouts, too. Weightlifting, yoga, swimming, and even walking are all incredible ways to de-stress and release some endorphins. 

So, yes, food and exercise or movement are things that we all need, but neither should be a source of stress. Really, these things can be a great way to bring us together and bring joy into our lives. So, this year, instead of hopping on the next diet trend or promising yourself you're going to run every day, try to enjoy all the wonderful experiences food and movement can bring into your life.