"Going green" with your eating habits can go way beyond that kale salad you ate for lunch today. While it's clear that what you put on your plate has an impact on your wallet, it also has an impact on the environment, whether that be from food miles or food waste. Fortunately, it just so happens that many eco-friendly habits and sustainable practices also save you lots of money, and voting with your fork for a healthier, happier planet often means tastier (and more nutritious!) food for all. Now that's what we call a win-win-win!
1) Cook at Home & Brown Bag It to Work
This doesn't have to mean boring, simple meals, or slaving over the stove for hours as a pile of dirty pots and dishes clutter the sink. We live busy lives, and taking valuable time and energy to create a meal after work every night can feel intimidating and daunting. Don't fret! With proper meal prep habits and some good Quick Fix recipes in your back pocket, getting a homemade dinner on the table can not only save you time, but also make your financial and health goals easier to attain. It's also better for the planet, especially since you'll be cutting down on the amount of takeout containers and plastic silverware you use per week. Committing to a weekly meal prep (between 1-3 hours is all you'll need) is a good place to start; making bulk amounts of brown rice or quinoa, beans, or roasted veggies means your meals can be grab-and-go and nourishing, whether you dine at home or pack in your lunchbox for work.
2) Buy Seasonally & Locally
Resolving to visit your local farmers market on a weekly basis or committing to a monthly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share are great ways to learn and experience new foods and to meet the farmers dedicated to growing them. Acting as stewards of the earth, small-scale farmers grow food without harmful chemicals while exercising water conservation techniques and fostering good soil health. When you put your money directly into the hands of the small-scale, local farmers in your area rather than massive distributors, not only do you support your community and local economy, but also transparency and sustainability. In exchange, you'll receive produce that's grown with love and harvested at the peak of its season, which means it's also at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Furthermore, fruits and veggies that are in season are in abundance, and that means they're more affordable!
3) Go Meatless
Whether you've committed to Meatless Mondays or a completely plant-based, vegan lifestyle , reducing the amount of meat and animal products you consume is not only an act of sustainability for the planet, but also one that will likely save you money while improving your health. Our modern meat industry takes a huge toll on the planet; in fact, over half of all global greenhouse-gas emissions can be attributed to animal agriculture. In terms of your grocery bill, the cost-savings is simple: pound for pound, many fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes cost far less than animal proteins. Making a variety of plant-based foods the foundation of your diet is critical to your health; it ensures that your body gets the proper amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and various phytonutrient compounds you need to survive and thrive. Trust, neither you nor your checking account will miss those extra sick days!