When it comes to being green, what you eat can be as important as what you drive. Since going green can get confusing, we’ve sorted through the supermarket to find products that make sense and make the most of your cents:
- Mixes not bottles—Bottled beverages are heavy to ship, requiring lots of fuel for travel from the bottler; plus all those individual containers are used once and tossed. Stir up a pitcher of drink mix or juice from frozen concentrate with water from your tap.
- Bulk-packaging—Oatmeal from the bulk bin (or largest container available) has less packaging than a box of individual packets, or toaster pastries or frozen waffles.
- Seasonal produce—Buying when things are in season means lower transportation costs and usually better flavor.
- Canned (and sustainable)—Confused about which fish are the most sustainable? Try canned anchovies, mackerel and sardines, which give a big omega-3 bang for your buck. Also buy American-sourced seafood, which again means lower transportation costs.
- Veggie goodness—According to green dietitians Jackie Newgent and Kate Geagan, it takes 2 calories to produce 1 calorie of food from plants and 20 to 80 calories to produce 1 calorie of food from animals.
- Whole grains—If you’re going meatless, you’ll need to search out alternative sources of protein. Quinoa is high in protein for your Meatless Mondays. (Go to relish.com for Meatless Monday recipes.)
- Beans and lentils cooked from dry—Dried beans sold in bags or bulk are super-economical, non-perishable, minimally packaged, grown in the United States and are light to ship to all parts of the country. Lentils cook in just 20 to 25 minutes; add a link of smoked turkey kielbasa for flavor.
By Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., a food writer in LaGrange Park, Ill.