So another year has passed by and another brand new one is upon us. Most people see the advent of the New Year as a harbinger of hope and better times while some others use the opportunity to reflect back on the year gone past and about all that it brought, or could have brought. One event that is as pertinent as the new year itself is the making of resolutions which most of us do to promise ourselves that we will do certain things this coming year, and also try and leave the bad habits. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccording to a business insider report, 80% of all New Year resolutions fail by February but despite the failure, most people still keep making resolutions. After all, hope is what makes the world go around. As a chef, I make resolutions too, while not commenting on how long those last (one lasted a few minutes), I still do make them and for the most part try to carry on with those as long as I could. While I am certainly no authority in telling people what to resolve for the New Year, I think I could still suggest some regarding the field that I happen to be in. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveMost people make New Year resolutions to ‘eat healthily’, ‘eat less’, while others make food resolutions that have them cook more at home. Let me try and give a few pointers on food resolutions, which you can consider in order to be healthier, wealthier and happier in 2019. Know your food: I have always found it rather unnerving how little we, in general talk about food. When a bunch of boys or girls meet, they talk about everything under the sun, latest movies, latest cars, fashion and what not. But not really about what we are putting inside our bodies, something that is sustaining us and giving us life. This next year, resolve to learn more about your food. Try and find out about the ingredients, source of those ingredients, preparation methods and effects of different kinds of food on the body and mind. I know it sounds too simplistic and childish, but my thought on this is that once you know more about your food, you would definitely respect it more, enjoy it more and be more aware of its effects on the body, good and bad. Love the leftovers: One general tendency among most of us is to not treat the leftover food with due respect. We don’t really prefer the leftovers over a fresh dish. This is wrong at so many levels. First, food is food. If it is not spoilt, it should be given the due respect it deserves. One of the New Year resolutions you can make is to not waste any food. Try and learn to make dishes with leftover ingredients and incorporate those into your meals, basically uncouple the leftover with the ingredients and think of leftovers more as food ingredients than undesirable leftovers. One great idea is also to make a weeknight as a ‘leftover night’ where you can create dishes only with leftovers. Think of all the creativity and satisfaction in doing this. Use new ingredients: One of the biggest problems of daily home-cooked food tends to be that it becomes boring after a while. Use of the same ingredients over and over makes this happen. The availability of all food ingredients, specially the fresh vegetables the entire year around makes it even worse. So, try and use new food ingredients. Some new kind of fish, non-regional vegetables, cheese that you have never heard the name of, try them. Chances are, you would be surprised by what they offer. Meet the farmers: Coming from a farmer family myself, I am rather surprised by how little urban dwellers know about the lives of farmers that bring them their food. One food resolution you must really strive for is to meet some farmers, visit their farms and try and find out their struggles and working methods. It is important that we become empathic to our farmer folks and support them so that they keep providing us with great food. If you get a chance, visit the local farmer’s markets and try and know more about the various offerings. Eat everything: Contrary to how it sounds, it is a good idea to not ban things from your diet, simply because it is unpractical and harsh on yourself. Until there is a health condition or other unavoidable considerations, try and incorporate all kinds of foods, in moderation. So don’t ditch your desserts, don’t demonise the pasta and do indulge in scrumptious biryani once in a while. To shut yourself completely out of any food that you love will not work in the long run. See what I said about 80% of resolutions failing within the first two months, one of the reasons is the unrealistic and unpractical demands on yourself, which of course will not work. The more you are going to tell yourself you can’t eat a certain food, the more you will want it. RECIPE In line with the above thoughts, I am giving one recipe that is quite easy to make, is chock o block with nutrients, reasonably sweet and a healthy snack to gorge on. I call it the ‘jogger’s cookies’. Jogger’s cookies Atta : 200 g Oat : 200 g Flax/Sesame seeds: 40 gms Baking Soda : 2 gm Salt: 2 gm Cinnamon Powder: 1 gm Honey: 100 g Olive Oil : 125 ml Egg : 1 Vanilla Walnuts : 100 g Raisins : 100 g Orange Zest : 1 tsp Lemon Zest : ½ tsp Method: Mix the olive oil, honey , egg and vanilla to form a homogenous mixture. The mix will look like thick vinaigrette. Separately mix together all dry ingredients . Walnuts should be lightly roasted and chopped. Mix the wet and dry mixes. Cool the resultant dough for around one hour. Portion into small balls, flatten a bit and bake it in a pre-heated oven for around 15-18 minutes till it gets a golden brown colour. Extra oat/walnuts can be sprinkled on top before baking. After baking, cool it and enjoy. You can store it in an air tight containers for months. I have been eating these for a long time now, as these are extremely filling, tasty and low on calories. When on diet, eat one of these cookies every hour.
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