You're doing everything you can to set yourself up for a successful new year. You're making New Year's resolutions and taking time to reflect on what didn't work so well in 2017. You're trying to make your New Year's Eve plans ahead of time so you're not scrambling last minute or feeling sorry for yourself over a lack of festivities. You're making all of your post-holiday gift returns now so they don't pile up in your closet. You're the model of proactivity. But, if you're still feeling a little unsure about whether or not you're fully setting yourself up to live your best life in 2018, there's still something you likely haven't tried yet: Checking out what foods are believed to bring good luck when you eat them on New Year's Eve.
I've been known to declare my tendency toward superstitions loud and proud, so I, for one, am glad to know that eating the "lucky" foods on New Year's might help me make all my 2018 dreams come true. If there's any chance that I can gain some extra luck with the right Jan. 1 menu, you can bet that I'll give it a shot. Plus, as someone who didn't grow up with a strong food tradition around the new year, I can't help but just find it pretty darn cool that there's a whole world of cuisine thought to be the perfect side dish for a ball drop and champagne toast.
According to Reader's Digest, greens like spinach and kale are thought to resemble money, so eating them on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day is symbolic of prosperity and wealth in the months to come. Throw together a salad, or sauté with meat or pasta.
Pork is known for its high fat content, which means that (like greens) it's come to represent prosperity in many cultures and families, per Today. I know this information isn't helpful for the vegetarians among us, but if you do happen to be a meat eater, New Year's is the perfect day to indulge in ribs, pork chops, ham, or sausage.
According to some traditions — especially in the south, per Southern Living — cornbread symbolizes gold (Are you picking up on a pattern here? Because I am.), making it the perfect dish to help ring in the new year. Also, it's delicious.
Black beans, garbanzo beans, Cannellini beans, green beans, chickpeas — what's one thing they all have in common? (Other than being beans, of course.) According to Reader's Digest, they all look a little bit like coins! In keeping with the theme I've established so far, indulge in a bean dish on New Year's to ensure wealth in 2018.
5. Soba Noodles
Long noodles symbolize long life in many cultures, and in Japan, eating soba noodles without cutting or breaking them is thought to ensure good health, according to Today. Slurp away! If you can't easily get your hands on soba noodles this January, you can celebrate with spaghetti too — as long as you don't cut it before you eat.
According to Reader's Digest, people in Mexico eat a grape for each stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, each one representing a page of the calendar in the year ahead. A bitter grape is thought to warn its eater that the corresponding month might be a challenging one, while the sweet ones represent the sweetness of the future. Pomegranates and figs are also traditionally eaten for New Year's.
7. Bundt Cakes
Per Reader's Digest, a ring-shaped cake symbolizes one year coming full circle so that the next can begin. Some families and cultures bake surprise treats inside their New Year's cakes to represent the unexpected events and challenges that can come our way.
8. Black-Eyed Peas
As we already know, beans are generally thought to bring good luck, and many people believe that black-eyed peas are the luckiest of all. Per Today, the earliest record of this dates back to the Civil War, when people were forced to eat black-eyed peas (usually reserved for their livestock) after the devastating Siege of Vicksburg. Without these beans, many people wouldn't have survived the aftermath of this battle.
A fish's shiny scales are thought to resemble coins and to therefore bring prosperity and good luck for the new year, according to Reader's Digest. Pick up a filet of your favorite variety and enjoy it on the first day of 2018.
German and Pennsylvania Dutch families eat this traditional cabbage dish on New Year's Day to attract wealth in the months ahead. Like other greens, cabbage is thought by these groups to represent an influx of money, per Serious Eats.
11. Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is served in Sweden and Finland with an almond hidden somewhere inside. The lucky finder of the nut is said to be guaranteed a lucky new year — and some families even give them a prize, according to Global Table Adventure.