As we wrap up our third annual #SunsetEatFresh challenge, several editors have evolved from caffeine-fiends and exercise-avoiders to fish-lovers and healthy eaters. (Joanna's salad round-up is extremely impressive.)
It took two weeks, a slight bit of cheating, and lots of willpower. But, for the most part, their plans have worked. They've pawed their way to healthier lifestyles.
How have your resolutions gone this year? Share them in the comments below, so we can all empathize together. Meanwhile, you can see how our participants fared.
This year, I resolved to: Give up my breakfast-bar habit and instead juice whole fruits and veggies daily.
I cheated: Almost every weekday with a bar. But I also whirled up a fresh, healthy superfood smoothie every day of the week.
Next year, I'll: Still be juicing (but I'll no longer have a drawer full of bars—I've stopped replenishing my supply). At nearly three weeks into the new year, my daily-smoothie habit is sticking, and I've learned to add in protein and other boosts to make a smoothie a more feasible meal replacement or afternoon snack. I'm having fun experimenting (and sometimes failing), and overall juicing is an easy and delicious way for me to get my daily recommended allowances of fruits and vegetables, which I'm apparently too lazy to chew.
Who: Gina Goff, Sunset.com managing editor
This year, I resolved to: Start exercising again after a long hiatus, while sticking to a low-carb, no-sugar diet.
I cheated: A little bit. Mid-challenge, I took off three consecutive days from working out, but I rebounded pretty quickly. I learned that the best way to keep a routine going is to set manageable, incremental goals for myself.
Next year, I'll: tackle my caffeine dependency (maybe). I couldn’t bear to give up coffee the same week I started working out again, but hopefully by next year I’ll be in such a good routine that I can do both without falling asleep on the treadmill.
Who: Andrea Minarcek, senior travel editor
This year, I resolved to: become a more creative, dedicated home chef, starting with a two-week streak of cooking new-to-me, made-from-scratch meals every day.
I cheated: Never, actually. This year, surprisingly— shockingly, to me—I managed to stick to my goals like a champ. I concocted new dishes in my apartment’s little kitchen every day, and without intentionally selecting “healthy” recipes, I ate a lot more healthfully than I usually do.
Next year, I'll: Next year? I’m not waiting that long. I’m going to continue this cooking run this year. I bookmarked so many tasty-looking recipes during the challenge that I don’t want to wait that long to try them all. This week already, I’m tackling this skillet chicken souvlaki dish (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/skillet-chicken-souvlaki)— from our sister publication, Cooking Light—and this orecchiette dish, with escarole, capers and olives (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/orecchiette-escarole-capers-olives), from Sunset’s January recipe.
Who: Jessica Mordo, Senior Editor, Sunset.com
This year, I resolved to: Eat more fish.
I cheated: I actually didn’t! It was difficult to sustain 4 servings a week for the duration of the challenge, but I made it.
Next year, I'll: I’d like to aim for 1-2 servings of fish a week moving forward, and now I have some new meal ideas to help me achieve that goal. If I have trouble sticking with it, I’ll have to dig deeper next year to explore even more creative ways to work fish into my diet – or find a good market that has quality filets that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Who: Megan McCrea, Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief
This year, I resolved to: Give up soda, replacing it with more water.
I cheated: Never, to everyone's surprise (most of all my own!). I did think I cheated once, when I drank a cocktail containing club soda. But—happily—I learned that club soda contains no sugar or caffeine and, so, doesn't count.
Next year, I'll: work harder to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, rather than, say, swapping a daily Pepsi for an extra midday coffee. For example.