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Earth Day 2011: Going Green With Your Food Choices

Going green can help you improve your diet.

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Go Green Get Lean Book Cover
Going green is more than just reducing your carbon footprint. It may help you improve your diet. The key is to start small by incorporating changes step by step into your daily life. A great book of reference is Go Green Get Lean by Kate Geagan, RD. Here are a few tips to help you get started on leading a greener lifestyle by buying green, eating green, and practicing green habits.

Buying Green

Our food system, including food transportation and preparation, is to blame for almost one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that this damage can be reversible. One easy way to contribute to the cause is to be a green buyer. Do your grocery shopping at a local farmer’s market. Locally grown produce doesn’t have to travel as far as produce grown outside the area. Therefore, you are choosing the food that traveled less and has used less energy to get from the farm to your plate.

Become an eco-smart seafood shopper using the Seafood Watch App. Why does it matter?  Overfishing, as well as the PCB and mercury content levels, have created serious health concerns among the seafood lovers and consumers. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website to get sustainable seafood recipes.

Eating Green

Big Green Cookbook Book Cover
You can also get green in the kitchen by preparing plant-based meals and eating seasonally. Prepare an easy pasta salad dish or side dish by using orzo or quinoa and adding in your favorite veggies. Check out the Big Green Cookbook for some great tips on how to give recipes a green makeover!  Jackie Newgent recently shared some of her favorite green tips at a conference I attended, including how to “hyperbake.” Curious? Check out the website to learn more www.biggreencookbook.com.

Repurpose your leftovers. Using your leftovers to create a new dish is a great way to cut down on waste. Mix veggies with chickpeas to make a veggie hummus or blend leftover salad into a pesto.

Practicing Green Habits

Earth Day 2011 Flier

One of the easiest ways to begin practicing green habits is to swap out plastic water bottles for a reusable one. Not only are you cutting down on bottle packaging, but also the transportation of water. You’ll also be surprised by how much money it saves you!

Give your kitchen a green makeover by becoming energy smart. Use small appliances such as your microwave more often, which cuts energy by two thirds. Try roasting veggies or fruit in the microwave for a great side or a sweet dessert.

Practice the Four R’sReduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle.  Before throwing out that aluminum can, think “what else can I use this for?” Maybe it could become a cookie cutter, mold, or utensil holder.

Going green can seem like a big lifestyle change, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you begin with gradual changes, it is a much more accessible goal. Just introduce just one or two of these little tips into your routine once a week or so and you’ll be well on your way to going green.

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition Trends

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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