You don’t need a congressional lobby to stay away from the grid or take green steps to take care of the land. In fact, sustainable steps can start from a surprisingly simple place – on your plate.
Sustainable food can reduce your carbon footprint, save valuable resources, and support a more ethical food system.
Plus, it can save you money. Contrary to what you may believe about the need to buy all organic ingredients, expensive vegetarian products, or just grass-fed meat, an eco-friendly diet doesn’t have to wipe out your bank account.
Here are 10 ways to eat green and save some greens.
The local food movement is growing in the United States because people are interested in supporting the local economy, getting to know farmers, and trying out regional food.
Food grown close to home requires less transportation to reach you, which reduces emissions and the use of fossil fuels. In turn, it reduces costs.
Also, the more you invest in local food, the more you will find yourself discovering interesting new flavors and foods. For example, if you are in the southwest, you can cook with naples or with mascarpone flour, or if you are in the northwest, try Marion Berry.
If you’ve ever tasted perfectly ripe strawberries in June or asparagus slices in April, you’ve tasted the delicious rewards of seasonal food.
Seasonal foods are at their peak of ripening and flavor – and they are sometimes high in nutrients. For example, one study found that seasonally grown broccoli had higher levels of vitamin C than off-season broccoli (1 trusted source).
Seasonal foods are also less expensive than out-of-season items. (When a farm or food retailer has a plentiful crop, they often lower the price to get it in the hands of consumers before it goes bad.)
Take a cart full of fresh corn in the summer or a crate of oranges in the winter and you are likely to pay a bargain instead of the highest dollar amount you can get out of the season.
From an environmental point of view, seasonal food supports the natural growth cycle of food (2).
To grow crops year-round – as the industrial food system requires – food producers sometimes have to use more inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, or water, thus using additional resources. (Using gas or electricity to generate heat to grow fresh herbs is an example.)
Seasonal food also goes hand in hand with local food. When nearby crops are harvested according to their natural cycles, they take less time to reach your plate – and therefore less resources -.
A meal plan can help you follow a healthy diet so that you know exactly what you are going to eat and allow you to make conscious, nutritious food choices that meet your health goals. According to
Making a detailed list of what you need at the store keeps food costs on track, preventing overwhelming purchases.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one third of food produced in the United States is never eaten, and wasted food is the most common cause of landfills.
Since minimizing leftover food is one of the best ways to take action on Earth, it’s best to keep your leftover food safe instead of throwing it out. If you are not sure how long the leftovers last, look at this article.
In addition to reducing food waste, leftover food prevents you from spending it on takeouts or new groceries that you don’t really need.
If you’re not keen on surviving, try creative ways, such as re-serving some leftover meat as a pizza topping, adding extra fruits and vegetables to salads, or adding extra pasta or rice to soups.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows farms to sell their surplus produce directly to their community during the season. For a lower fee, you can pick up a box – usually full of seasonal, locally produced carnocopia – at a specific drop-off point.
CSAs reduce farm food waste by taking your fruits and vegetables directly into your hands without the need for transportation or protection.
In addition, their prices are often competitive – some CSAs start at about ً 10 per box – and offer great fruits and vegetables such as turnips, chopped squash, and unique varieties of melons.
If you have decided to join CSA (or load seasonal foods in other ways), your next step may be figuring out how to prevent your product from spoiling. However, most of us can’t use a bunch of grapes or a palette of squash in a few days.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a home steward to try your hand at food safety. The easiest and most accessible way to store food at home is by freezing, canning and drying.
Freezing is the easiest way, and most foods freeze well (although it’s best to do your research before putting anything in the freezer). Canning and drying may take a little longer but can help you keep food on hand for weeks or months to come.
The main street of your local grocery store is not just for the colorful view of the Willie Vanka style food dispenser. It is also a treasure trove of savings and environmental benefits.
Buying dry goods in bulk often reduces costs significantly, especially when it comes to more expensive items such as nuts, nuts, or special flour. Also, when you get the right amount for your needs (rather than the maximum package), you are less likely to waste food.
Shopping in bulk can also reduce the use of plastic. You can carry your clean, reusable food grade bag so you don’t have to use plastic bags every time.
Choosing more plant foods than animal foods can save you money, help the environment and improve your health.
This is because animal products contribute to additional greenhouse gases, water use, and land degradation (4 trusted sources, 5 trusted sources, 6).
Plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, and tofu often cost less than half the price of meat, in exchange for an ounce. For example, the average price of dried beans in February 2022 was $ 1.55 per pound, while the average price of ground beef was $ 4.63 per pound (7).
Of course, this is not true of every vegetarian option – for example, nut milk costs more than cow’s milk, but, when done correctly, substituting plants for animal products Can help reduce costs.
During the First and Second World Wars, the Victory Garden initiative encouraged people to grow their own food in order to reduce costs and reduce the pressure on the industrial food system. These days, gardening can still bring these benefits (8).
Depending on how much food you grow, the fruits of your labor can cover your food at the lowest cost.
Meanwhile, food is not more local (or seasonal) than being grown in your own backyard.
Not surprisingly, research has shown that home gardening can significantly reduce a home’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, if you compost food scrap for your garden, you will send less waste to the landfill (9).
Although gardening can take time, you should also consider it a way to relieve stress. Research has shown that going to the garden only twice a week increases people’s sense of health and well-being while reducing feelings of stress
Ultra-processed foods have undergone many industrial processes and usually contain many additional flavors, sugars, fats and chemical preservatives. Many of these foods are associated with a variety of health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers (11 trusted sources, 12 trusted sources).
In addition, ultra-processed foods are harmful to the environment because their numerous ingredients mean that their overall carbon footprint is quite large (13 trusted sources).
Therefore, it is a good idea to replace them with nutritious foods whenever possible. Doing so can also save you money, as some snacks, such as apples or cheese, are often cheaper than a bag of chips or candy.
There is no need for a big start to play its role for the planet. Even a few small changes, such as occasionally choosing plant-based proteins instead of meat or buying large quantities of staples, can lead you to significant environmental impacts.
You may also find that eco-friendly choices save money. Getting fresh produce from CSA or your own home garden often costs less than storing it at a grocery store. When you go to the store, the cost of seasonal produce is usually lower.
Try these dietary changes for a pro-planet, pro-budget lifestyle and see if they encourage you to expand your environmental efforts.