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Resolutions for 2011: Eat and drink more healthfully

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Tuesday, January 4, 2011; 11:12 AM

Last January I started a tradition by asking people I had interviewed for the Eat, Drink & Be Healthy column or The Checkup blog to share their resolutions for eating more healthfully in the new year. Below is this year's batch of ideas from folks I talked to in 2010.

For my part, now that I've shed the 10 pounds I set out to lose through Me Minus 10, I plan to relax a bit around food, perhaps be less obsessed with exercise. The scale - in particular, its measure of my body fat percentage - will keep me honest, I hope. In any case, I aim to enjoy food a bit more and fret over it a bit less in 2011.

David Kessler , former FDA commissioner and author of "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite": I'm resolving to be more aware of my automatic responses to food cues. I'm talking to you, restaurant bread basket!

Scott Mowbray , editor, Cooking Light magazine: I'm about to embark on my second annual "Vegan January" month. I couldn't possibly become a full-time vegan because, in moderation, I just love my Benton's bacon and my aged Gouda. But a month of eating only plants and plant foods is a really good way to focus on new cooking techniques, new spices and flavors. So that's what happens Jan. 2. (I never start these things on New Year's Day!)

Sara Baer-Sinnott , president of Boston-based food think tank Oldways: My healthful eating resolution is to try at least one new recipe each week. And since this is the "Year of the Mediterranean," I'm focusing on recipes from different Mediterranean countries that feature vegetables of the season. In other words, I'll be taking a delicious trip around the Mediterranean, all without security lines and the TSA!

Walter Willett , chairman of the department of nutrition and a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health: I will be aiming to keep my intake of refined starch and sugar as low as possible (zero is optimal); these calories are really bad calories, with no benefit and many harmful metabolic effects. Instead, I will enjoy new ways of putting whole grains into my diet; we don't need many to be highly satisfying.

Mark Bittman , author of "The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living": I'll keep on the path I've put myself on, which is to eat no animal products or highly processed foods before dark. This vegan-until-6 thing has worked for me for four years now, and I see no reason to change it. So I'll save my resolve for talking to other people about why it makes sense.

Joanne Slavin , professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Preparing and sharing food is the secret to happiness. A "healthy" box of no-added-sugar, low-sodium, no-solid-fat "food" will not improve your life.

Nina Gonzalez , freshman at Seton Hill University and advocate for vegetarian choices in school lunchrooms: I plan on eating more frequently in the attempt to keep my blood sugar more regular. I will do this by snacking and spreading out my meals. I'm going to make an effort to keep apples, pears and oranges in my bag. That way I can eat them between meals and on my way to class. At school I am working with the cafeteria staff to introduce a better labeling system. These labels will include all ingredients; symbols on the labels will let individuals more easily identify if the dish is vegetarian or vegan.

Norah O'Donnell , MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent and co-author of the cookbook "Baby Love": My resolution is to laugh more, love more, eat more superfoods like quinoa, and run the D.C. half-marathon in March.

Geoff Tracy , chef and restaurateur and co-author, with wife Norah O'Donnell, of the cookbook "Baby Love": My resolution technique is to tell people I care about what I am trying to achieve. That way you feel accountable to them. Currently, I am training for a half-marathon in March and a 100-mile bike race in July. I get there by going to the gym six times a week and scheduling a competitive road race each month. I include a weight-loss goal of eight ounces per month.

Chris Downie , founder and CEO of SparkPeople: One area our family always tries to keep improving is getting more vegetable servings in our diet. One way we'll do this this year is by involving our kids even more in selecting and cooking foods. Vegetable soups are one of our favorite ways to do this, where each of our boys can select the veggies they'd like to add and throw them into the pot.

Tell us about your resolution

What food- or nutrition-related resolutions are you making for 2011? Share yours in the comments section of this column at washingtonpost.com/wellness.

For nutrition news, visit the Checkup blog, follow @jhuget on Twitter and subscribe to the Lean & Fit newsletter.

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