Spring is a great time to take a look at how the food choices you make impact the environment. Earth-friendly food goes beyond organic food; it also includes how food is packaged, shopped for, prepared and served.
Here are five great ways to “eat green”:
- Go for organic. Foods that are USDA-certified organic reduce pollution, because they minimize the use of pesticides. Choose organic for foods you eat most often, or ones that are the most affordable.
- Eat fewer processed foods. Excess packaging, long distances traveled and processing of these foods require more energy and resources than using whole foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for less-processed foods, then borrow some cookbooks from the library to know what to do with them.
- Seek local. Similar to processed foods, purchasing foods from local sources reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation of goods. Shop the farmers' markets and read labels to see where your food is coming from.
- Eat lower on the food chain. This means including more plant-based meals in your diet. According to the National Resources Defense Council, if all Americans eliminated 4 ounces of beef per week from their diet, the reduction in global warming would be equivalent to taking 4 to 6 million cars off the road. Swap out one meat-based meal a week for a vegetarian dish.
- Watch your waste. The USDA estimates that 27 percent of all food produced for people is thrown away or used for a lower-value purpose, like animal feed. On top of the energy, water and pesticides that went into making this food, food that ends up in landfills releases the global-warming methane gas. Purchase foods you know you can eat before they expire. If you can, compost any food waste.