For some people, being green is their way of life. It is not only helpful for the environment, but for your body as well. By experimenting with some green eating tips, you and your family can eat well and work towards improving the environment.
If we start with the basics, we can think green. Some example of going back to basics would be: packing healthier meals and snacks, being more physical active, and literally eat green.
Be prepared. Instead of packing meals and snacks in paper or plastic bags and using plastic water bottles, aim to use reusable containers for your food and beverages. This will save you money and will also keep the environment cleaner.
Buy whole foods often. These items can help make your meals and snacks much healthier. Some examples of whole foods are: fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk, fat-free milk, whole grains, legumes, eggs, lean meats, poultry and fish. These foods are not processed, so they will contain more fiber. Less processing means less energy is consumed for packaging and production.
Grow your own! Growing your own produce can save you time and money. Having a wide variety of fruits and vegetables makes it easier for you and your family to enjoy many different flavors all year long. This may also increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables with the picky eaters in your house.
Can you go green with activity? Absolutely!
Get moving. Walk or ride your bicycle to a friend or neighbor’s house instead of driving. You will not only burn calories, but you can reduce pollution.
Spot reduction. When running errands, park in a neutral location and walk to most of the stores instead of driving to every location.
Meetings. Walk to work meetings instead of driving to different buildings.
This doesn’t mean eating only green produce, this means adding more produce to every meal and snack. Why? Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and fat. They also contain a good source of fiber and antioxidants.
Breaking the fast. Start breakfast by adding some fresh fruit to whole grain cereal or low-fat yogurt. On the weekends, you can add tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach to your scrambled eggs.
Lunch makeover. Add fruit and vegetables to chicken or tuna salads. You could add raisins, pineapple, apples, grapes, dried cranberries, dried cherries, celery, green onions, onions, peppers, and/or cucumbers. Aim to use low-fat mayonnaise when making these sandwiches. You can also add some of these vegetables to any type of sandwich. Some other additions could be sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, spinach, romaine lettuce and tomatoes.
For starters. Make a salad before your meal or have a hearty vegetable soup. Both will be low in calories and fill you up before the main course. This will not only save you calories, but provide you with some tasty leftovers.
Meatless dishes. Can you go without beef or chicken in a certain recipe? Yes! Think black beans, rice, salsa, peppers, onions, lettuce and tomatoes wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla. You can even have meatless chili. Choose more than one type of bean and add extra vegetables into the chili. Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein and do not contain saturated fat. These dishes will keep you and your family full and satisfied.
Always remember to wash your produce before eating. Gently rub fruits and vegetables under running water. Do not use soap, detergent, bleach or other toxic cleaning chemicals. These chemicals will leave a residue of their own on your produce.
Going green can be helpful to your health and the environment. Start with the basics and you and your family can make some big changes.
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2011 Magazine