Lettuce Eat Local
We’re almost through January, and it seemed like a good time to check in on your New Year’s resolutions.
Did you just gulp guiltily, breathe a sheepish sigh, or give yourself a congratulatory high-five? Or maybe you just realized with a start that you totally forgot about yours. I answered my own question by shrugging my shoulders, since I didn’t set any.
Any of those reactions is perfectly normal. According to several websites and cited sociological studies, well over a third of US adults set resolutions at the start of the new year. My age demographic falls into the category of most likely to set an annual goal, but I rarely do, which makes me statistically less likely to in the future, either.
Different aspects of living a healthier life almost always top the leaderboard of popular resolutions. Studies do not quite agree on the #1 resolution for 2023, but improving physical fitness is probably the overall highest ranking goal this year, as it often is. Other goals most often cited are related to eating better or losing weight, as well as focusing on mental health, which is likely more popular and necessary recently due to the effects of Covid-19. About 20% of people set even more than one resolution.
Keeping resolutions, however, is much harder than making them. Some studies suggest that ¼ of goal-makers give them up within the first week and ⅔ within the first month…and that only reflects the respondents that are willing to admit it. In fact, almost half of resolvers actually expect to fail before February, and the second Friday in January is unofficially known as Quitters’ Day.
What a promising outlook! But the problem with many resolutions, besides being expected to fail, is that they are too nebulous. What does “get more fit” or “save money” actually mean and how do you do it? Researchers recommend that resolvers identify their motivations, frame their focus positively instead of negatively (things to do instead of not do), and that they be SMART in their goals to be successful: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
But enough about sociological studies (to be fair, my degree is in sociology so I am intrigued by all this), or I’ll never get to the food part of this food article. I am a recovering perfectionist, so I know for my own mental health that sometimes it’s better for me not to set goals that I can get hung up on. But I realized as I sat down to a morning bowl of braised greens and ricotta (as my foster kids watched uncomfortably), one thing I do along the lines of the “eat healthier” resolution is to try and eat veggies at breakfast. I didn’t make it a resolution, because I have to work harder to give myself grace rather than rules, but it has morphed into a thing I usually do because I value it. I can’t have a “Quitters’ Day” because I never “began.”
And before you get all in a tizzy thinking about vegetables at breakfast, if you can eat a Western omelet, you can do it. That said, my style is a little more unusual…think carrots in yogurt, avocados with cold oatmeal, leftover cheesy green beans. Trust me, you don’t have to do that — although you might get hooked if you start. Beets, carrots, and pumpkin fit into more places than you might expect, but if you can even eat a couple slices of cucumber or a stalk of celery after your cereal, you’re still giving yourself a jumpstart on a more veggie-rich lifestyle.
So whether eating healthier was part of your New Year’s resolution or not, give breakfast veggies a try in a new way. If nothing else, it makes a good morning conversation starter.
You Can’t Beet This Breakfast
2 roasted beets, cooled, any liquid reserved
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
whole-grain bagel or bread
toasted sesame seeds
Blend 1 beet and any juices until smooth; thinly slice the other beet. Meanwhile, whisk the cream cheese with a smidge of milk, just until smooth and spreadable. Mix half with the beet puree, and spread your desired amount of this on a toasted bagel, swirling in some of the plain cream cheese. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt, and layer with beet slices.
I showed this to my husband Brian, and he thought it looked like a fancy doughnut — and then mentioned how high the level of disappointment would be. Needless to say, he did not make any vegetable-related resolutions. Benson, however, loves beets, and joined me in enjoying this veggie breakfast, which I made fancy-looking just for you. Skip the honey and pureeing, and try this with any leftover roasted vegetable layered on cream cheese for savory bagels.
Prep tips: I love beets’ striking color, but keep in mind that whatever they touch also turns that color.