Top 12 Ways to Eat Green
Here are delicious ways to spend your voting dollars. Research the options to find the best fit for you.
Avoid Animal Products
Meat, dairy, and eggs use a great deal of resources. They are crop-intensive and energy-intensive. Animal products are inefficient to produce and result in a net loss of calories and protein. Dropping animal products is the best recommendation for eating a greener diet.
Enjoy Whole Foods
Choose whole grains, fresh produce, nuts, and dried legumes, which result in less processing, less packaging, and better health. Make salad and home-made soup your main course. Eating more whole foods automatically reduces consumption of less-ideal foods.
Color Your Choices
Mix it up by enjoying a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich legumes. Food colors represent different antioxidants and nutrient-composition. Eat a wide variety to improve health and well-being.
Gentle on the Junk
Avoid trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and other “junk” foods. Junk food is over processed and devoid of nutrients. Choose healthy treats and minimize the “cheats” – your budget, your body, and your planet will thank you.
Quality Over Quantity
Healthy living begins by eating less quantity but higher quality foods. Eating less is a great way to save money and energy. By adopting healthy eating habits and appropriate portions, you can reduce health care costs too.
Live Large with Leftovers
Save some for later. Leftovers are a great way to avoid waste while saving time, money, and calories. Instead of finishing it off because it tastes good, enjoy it later instead. Making larger portions and enjoying leftovers saves time, especially with more elaborate recipes (many of which taste better the next day).
Eat Simply So Others May Simply Eat
Keep it simple. While it’s important to eat a wide variety of nutrients, simple meals are also easy, cost-effective and great for being green. Consider integrating the PB&J Campaign daily sandwich recommendation and other simple, budget-friendly meals. Reducing our demand for food, especially by reducing crop-intensive animal products, reduces the price-pressure on the world’s resources and makes food more available to the world’s poor (more on hunger connection).
Reduce packaging by eating more whole, unprocessed foods and using the bulk bins for items that have a long shelf-life. For items with a short shelf-life, like fresh produce, bring your own bag and prioritize items that are not pre-cut and packaged. Spend a little extra time, and you’ll save money and resources.
Look at labels and get to know your farmers directly. Organic is a great short-hand for better practices, but there are other sustainable practices (some even better than organic) that don’t have an official government certification.
Like Local & Savor Seasonal
Favor local and seasonal products to avoid the extra energy and preservation costs of long-distant transport and greenhouses. Local is best when products are in season as greenhouses may be more energy-intensive than some transportation.
Connect with a CSA
Bolster local and sustainable practices while supporting smaller farmers by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and/or a community garden. Prices and food quality are often better at CSAs, which provide a good supplement or alternative to chain stores.
Grow an Edible Garden
Grow your own. Home edible gardens are increasingly popular and let you grow amazing foods or herbs just the way you like them.
In addition to nourishing ourselves, our planet and others around the world, we want to support fair policies that treat workers with respect and allow them to earn a living wage. For details about the treatment of food workers, visit Food Empowerment Project.
Bonus – FREE How-To Materials
- Mercy For Animals – Vegan Starter Guide (16-page guide mailed to you or PDF).
- FARM – Meatout Mondays weekly e-newsletter with recipe, product info, and hints.
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – 21-Day Kickstart Your Health.
- Food Empowerment Project – free year-long subscription to Food Chain Newsletter.