How's your new year going? Are you bounding into it, refreshed and full of energy? Or are you dragging yourself into it slowly, feeling sluggish?
How you answer that may depend to a degree by how you've been eating (and drinking) lately. And many of us, if we're in the latter group, resolve to change how we eat in the new year, with a view to feeling and looking better.
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Unfortunately what we all know is that most new year's resolutions fade well before the end of daylight savings. So beyond what we all know we should do: eat more vegetables; eat more whole foods; I'm going to propose four different, deeper things we might resolve to do this year, food-wise.
1. Don't judge others for their eating
Some of us, myself included, are privileged enough to have true choice over what we eat. We can decide, every time we shop for food or sit down at a table, to eat something healthy and nourishing. Not everyone has that. We're deluded if we think being overweight or unhealthy is a simple failure of willpower. How we eat is a product of many complex factors including environment, marketing, poverty, education and discrimination. Less judgment and more empathy might help us change how we think about our fellow humans, and direct our anger and judgment where it's really deserved: at those who control our food environment (see point 4).
2. Remember there's no one perfect diet
There's no one way of eating that's right for every single one of us. (No, it's not keto, and it's not vegan, though these may work for some). There are lots of ways of eating that are health-giving, and they don't all have labels or long lists of foods that are allowed and not allowed.
3. Respect the farmers
Every time we sit down to eat, we should be thankful to the people who grew our food. Farmers have had a hard time lately, blamed for accelerating our descent to environmental disaster. But I've met lots of farmers in my work, and I've yet to meet one – whether they grow lamb or eggs or lettuce – who's not dedicated to caring for the land and proud of producing food for their fellow kiwis. They deserve our gratitude.
4. Start caring about the politics of food
It should make every one of us feel ashamed - in a country where we pride ourselves on equality and export enough food to feed 20 million people - that one in five children lives in food poverty, meaning they do not have access to enough good-quality, healthy food. We should be ashamed that one in nine of our kids is obese. These facts are not unrelated. We should also feel angry that the food industry appears to have more influence than public health experts do on policymakers, in taking any meaningful action to change this. Now's the year we can make our voices heard if we think this is unacceptable.
• Niki Bezzant is a food and nutrition writer and speaker. Follow her on Instagram at @nikibezzant