5 Eco-Friendly Tips for Sustainable EatingArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Take a big step to help make the world a better place. After all, a healthy planet equals a healthy you! Check out these creative eco-friendly tips to help you go green and live sustainably.
1. Invest in a water bottle.
Whether or not you’re following the South Beach Diet, water is good for you. However, plastic water bottles are not good for the Earth. Globally, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute. According to Forbes, 91% of all plastic is not recycled. Every time you make a decision to use a reusable water bottle, you’re making an effort to help our fish, wildlife, people and planet. From stainless steel to glass, there are many water bottle options to choose from.
2. Bring new life to glass containers.
So, you used a jar of pasta sauce? Keep the jar—it’s perfect for mixing and storing homemade salad dressing. That pickle jar is great for storing sliced veggies or homemade soup. So many of our favorite condiments or pickled produce come in glass jars that we use once and then throw away (or hopefully recycle).
Break the wasteful cycle and put glass to use in your kitchen! Buy bulk healthy fats like nuts and seeds and divvy them up into easily stacked, portable jars. Or, mix up chia pudding, homemade salsa or sugar-free jam. You can even use them for meal prepping salads! Good news: Glass can be microwaved, cleaned in the dishwasher and used indefinitely. Plastic? Only the expensive stuff can do all that and it still won’t last as long.
3. Stop using plastic grocery bags.
According to U.S. Geological Survey, plastic bags dissolve into harmful microplastics that hurt or kill fish and wildlife. Additionally, plastic bags are the biggest contaminant in recycling centers, says EarthDay.org. They can easily get caught in machinery and cause damage. Plus, workers are not permitted to open them at some facilities. Therefore, if the bag is filled with recyclable plastic bottles, the whole bag and the contents are trash.
Always bring your own cloth, paper or reusable shopping bag when you hit the grocery store. Also, don’t use those bags in the produce and meat aisles—they’re made with the same destructive microplastics. Instead, invest your own eco-friendly mesh or cotton produce bags. They last a lifetime and are typically washing machine-friendly.
We all have a bag of plastic bags hanging in our closet. Consider returning or recycling these at your local supermarket; many stores are hopping on the recycle train and will gladly take them back.
4. Shop smarter and sustainably.
There are lots of little things you can do to reduce your global footprint. For example, it’s convenient to buy prepackaged chicken breasts. However, think about all the plastic you’re putting in the trash. Instead, go to the meat counter at your supermarket and ask for two or three pounds of chicken. At home, individually wrap the cuts in freezer paper and put the pieces in a freezer-safe container.
The same concept applies for virtually every protein and healthy fat. Choose eggs in a cardboard, recyclable container instead of plastic or Styrofoam. Buy milk in paper cartons. Purchase yogurt in large containers. Ask the deli counter staff to not put pieces of plastic between each slice of cheese or deli meat. Just being aware of the packaging used for your staples can help you be more eco-friendly.
5. Head to the farmers market.
It’s no secret that seasonal, local food shopping is sustainable choice. The distance that your food had to travel is directly correlated to the environment. Your local farmers market is the perfect place to do your eco-friendly grocery haul! From fresh fruits and vegetables to locally sourced eggs and dairy products, you can score many low-carb finds while supporting your community and helping the planet. The best, most flavorful produce is seasonal. Farmers markets also typically have cardboard containers for fruit and veggies, not plastic clamshell cartons or bags found at the grocery store.
Before you pick up your South Beach Diet grocery additions at your favorite farmers market or roadside stand, be sure to check out our comprehensive Grocery Guide. If you don’t have a farmers market near you, you can still shop seasonal at your local grocery store. Refer to our Seasonal Produce Guides below for help with in-season shopping.