Eating seasonally appropriate foods is one of the easiest ways to green your dining habits. Depending on where you live, this may mean corn in the summer, apples in the fall, and potatoes and root vegetables in the winter. Nonseasonal produce requires more fossil fuels to travel from a faraway farm to your dinner plate, so eating seasonally is better for the planet and often cheaper.
Gain additional eco-eating points by choosing foods that are not only seasonal, but also grown locally. Buying local foods keeps transportation to a minimum, and the reduced use of fossil fuels means less of an environmental impact. And, once again, they’re often cheaper. Look for foods that are labeled “local” at your grocery store, or visit a neighborhood farmers market for a variety of local goods.
Choosing organic foods means choosing edibles that were grown without the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides or hormones. Buying organic items may cost a bit more, but think of it as investing in your family’s -- and the planet’s -- health. If you can’t buy everything organic, focus on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of foods that are best to buy organic.
Choose Veggies Over Meat
Raising animals can put a tremendous strain on the environment. For example, cows subsist on crops that require lots of resources to grow, they are often treated with hormones and antibiotics, and their waste can end up contaminating rivers and streams. Eek! You don’t have to give up meat entirely, but switching to veggie-based meals a few times a week is an easy way to reduce your strain on the environment.
Dine out Wisely
Eating greener doesn’t have to mean always eating at home. Restaurant lovers can still enjoy dining out without compromising their eco-integrity. Check out DineGreen.com for listings of green-minded restaurants across the U.S.
Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in
Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at Lime.com and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books,
The Lazy Environmentalist and
The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. She is the managing editor of and frequent contributor to Green Goes Simple