It can be easy to eat green

By Lauren Kime, RD, LDN

In recent years, there has been a push to think green. What does it mean to think green? It means to consider the impact that your lifestyle has on the environment. Easy ways to implement a greener lifestyle include: walking or biking instead of driving to work, buying green cleaning products or even making your own, taking shorter showers to save water, turning off the lights when you leave a room, bring your own bags to the grocery store, buying higher efficiency appliances, and eating greener.  It’s simple to start eating green. Here are some easy ways to start eating greener and more sustainably:

1. Eat local.

By eating locally grown food, you reduce the distance that your food has to travel from production to your plate. In a report done at Iowa State University, they measured the distance that 33 fruits and vegetables traveled to get to Chicago. They determined on average the distance the produce traveled was 1500 miles. Check online resources and groups to find locally produced food to reduce the distance your food travels to get to your plate. At Local Harvest, you can find a list of farms and CSAs in your community.

2. Eat seasonal.

By choosing foods that are in season to eat, this decreases the chances that the food you eat has traveled long distances to your plate. Throughout the year there are local farmers’ markets in a number of communities. In Chicago, the Green City Market runs year long, even in the winter. Other farmers’ markets start in early May and run through the beginning of November. There a farmers’ markets in nearly every neighborhood. To see a list of markets from last year click here.

3. Meatless Monday.

In a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was determined that a meat-based diet requires more energy to produce and is less sustainable that an lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. One simple way to make your diet greener would be to eat less meat. A movement that has become popular is Meatless Mondays to improve your overall health by eating less meat and by reducing your carbon footprint. Read more on the Meatless Monday website to learn more about this movement.

4. Grow a garden.

By growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs, you can certainly eat greener. Many fruits and vegetables are easy to harvest in a small garden at home. Preplanning in the spring months, and planting your garden in the early summer months can provide a bountiful abundance of fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and into fall. If you live in the city and do not have a yard to grow your own garden, you can look into renting plots of land. Another option is growing limited items on patios.

5. Community Supported Agriculture.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a great way to support sustainable eating and local farms.  Shares of produce are available for purchase from farms. By purchasing early, farms are able to receive payment earlier in the season to improve their cash flow. Purchasers of the shares will then receive a weekly box of produce throughout the season. Purchasers are then able to try a variety of produce, and they are also able to form relationships with the farmers that grow their food.  For more information about CSAs click here. To find a CSA near you click here.

Images via Lauren Kime

Other resources about green eating:

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Stephanie Hofhenke

Stephanie Hofhenke

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