Yeah, yeah everyone is talking about how to be green. Turn off your lights, bring grocery bags to the store, don’t waste water, etc. I personally try to do all those things and they are very important and easy to do. But what about greening your diet? Make a few simple changes in the way you eat and you’ll get your green badge quicker than ever (or at least I will give you a green star!). Not only that, it saves you money to be green with your diet if you are eating a plant-based one. It’s a win/win!
Buy from bulk bins
If you buy whatever you can from the bulk bins you aren’t buying something in some sort of packaging. Also buying this way allows you to buy more and stock up on your most often used items. A green star bonus if you bring in your own bags and containers for your bulk items.
Buy the largest size of things you use most or make yourself
For items that you can’t buy in the bulk bins, try buying the largest size of that item. Never buy individually wrapped foods. If you buy snacks foods often, you can find comparable snacks in the bulk bins like nuts and dried fruit for trail mix, pretzels, crackers, candies, and even snack bars. You could also make your own snack foods from scratch. For household non-food items like soap, glass cleaner, laundry detergent, etc. you can make your own or find other green products that allow you to use less with the same effect.
Reuse bottles, jars, and containers
If you buy anything in a bottle or jar with a lid this can be washed and reused to store food items. They can be used for drinking glasses or to take your green smoothie on the road. Get creative and use jars around the house to hold crafts; in the garage for holding nuts, bolts, etc; in the office to hold pens, paperclips, supplies; and save some to hold gifts for holidays.
Buy local, organic and seasonal
I know you’ve heard this from me before but it is really important! The grocery stores of today are season-less so it may be hard to tell what produce is in season. Visit the farmer’s market to find out. Depending on where you live, it’s possible that your food has traveled thousands of miles to get to your plate if you don’t buy local. Every label should tell you where the food item came from. So take a quick look at the label and if it comes from a place that is over 300 miles away put it back. Personally I like having the occasional mango or coconut, but I make sure my produce is local most the time.
Eco-pet peeve: produce bags. There is no need to put your produce in a bag that is just going in another bag later. You are going to wash it before you use it anyways. Just set it in your cart without a bag, no biggie.
Have a food swap with friends
We are all busy. And many of us are cooking for one so it’s just easier to eat out. Get a few friends together for a food swap. 5 people works best so you have a wholesome meal Monday-Friday. Everyone makes one meal with 5 servings on Sunday morning and you pick a designating meeting spot Sunday evening to exchange the food (which can rotate or pick the one that is the most central). You give one meal to each person in the group and then you have food to take to work with you or to eat for dinner.