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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

WFAEats: The Experts' Guide To New Year's Food Resolutions

nuts, cookies, orange slice

They start before the last Christmas cookie is devoured: all those promises to eat more healthfully in the new year.

Well, you may have about as much a chance of making that stick as there is for a blizzard in Charlotte. So this year I rounded up some experts and asked what sort of food resolutions they make and why. Here are some ideas from the pros.

Experts Know It’s Hard To Make Changes

Lauren Shockey is an expert on over-indulgence. She’s the author of"Hangover Helper: Delicious Cures from Around the World." She advises against those morning-after oaths some of us utter from the depths of our misery. “Rather than resolving to lose 20 pounds this year and adopt a complete plant-based diet, start off by adopting Meatless Mondays. Once you get into the groove on a regular basis, then try Meatless Monday plus Tuesday, and so forth,” she suggests.

Chef and renowned bread expert Peter Reinhart is ruthlessly honest. He vows to “fight my tendency towards gluttony and to focus on savoring each bite rather than the number of bites. We all preach quality over quantity but it's another matter to practice it. One thing I've been learning as I get older is how fast things are happening, and how much I want to slow down the passage of time. No better place to start than by chewing longer and eating more slowly.”

Kevin Soden is a physician who directs corporate health programs for companies around the world. I expected him to issue a global condemnation of our collective bad habits, but he took a completely different tack. “Be kind to yourself,” he says. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Reward yourself once in a while.” His only straight-up medical advice is to avoid highly processed foods when possible.

People Really Love Sweets.

Restaurateur Subrina Collier says, “I have a sweet tooth for things like cake and pastries.” She’s been upping her green game with kale and celery juices and plans to eat more Brussels sprouts in the new year. Fortunately, her chef-husband, Greg, has a sublime way to prepare them in a sauce with apple cider vinegar, butter, spices, and maple syrup.

Leslie Chartier feels best when she follows a paleo style of eating. That’s at odds with her professional identity as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and cake designer. "I am like an artist who does commission work," she explains. "I need to taste my own work to make sure it’s enjoyable." Chartier says, "In the new year, I definitely plan to cook and eat in my own home the way my body tells me to."

Sometimes You Have To Leave Home To Appreciate What’s Right In Your Own Backyard.

Tim Cameron stopped making resolutions a while back. Now retired from his position as a chef-instructor at Johnson and Wales, the avid traveler shared a story of hiking in Oaxaca, where a local expert guided him through the variety of foraged plants used in local cuisine. Then Cameron, who did his master’s thesis on Native American plants, mentioned something startling. Just up the road here in North Carolina, toward Black Mountain there’s an area “that has more diverse plants than any other section of Appalachia.” Such as? “Tons of wild mushrooms and ginger, lots of stuff,” he said. Making a road trip to learn about this will be a resolution that’s fun to try.

My own list of 2020 food resolutions is short and sweet.

Learn more. Cook more. Eat more. Share more.

I hope you’ll join me. Happy new year!

Amy Rogers writes WFAEats, a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and tackle the meatier side of the food scene in and around Charlotte.

Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.