Green, healthy, and cheap New Year Resolutions: 5 easy food ideas!

[caption id="attachment_713" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Ideas for easy, green, cheap, healthy New Years Resolutions"]GO clip art[/caption] New Year is a time for change, a time for resolve, and hence the concept of New Years Resolution. Every year, thousands of us make New Year resolutions promising to start healthier lives but fail within the first month. The reason for our failure is the lofty goals we set for ourselves. We discuss 5 ideas that are easy, green, and edible and most importantly things that you can incorporate into your life slowly. These changes may seem harmless but have a profound impact on your lifestyle and outlook on life. Idea 1. Buy produce in season: a good way to do it is to buy local. Tip: For the weekend chef: Start with your local farm stands or pick your own farms. For the master chef: If you cook often, joining a CSA may be a good option for you to get fresh produce direct from the farm Resources: Learn about what’s in season at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=674 Search for local CSAs at www.localharvest.org Search for pick your own farms at www.pickyourown.org Benefits: Green: saves on food transportation cost Healthy: fresh produce (often picked that day) ripened fully on trees have more nutrients than their counterparts that are picked early and shipped cross-country. Cheap: in season produce is also cheap Communal: get to know your local growers and have more control over where your food comes from. Idea 2. Incorporate whole foods and nutrient dense foods in your diet. Tip: Eat more whole grains instead of processed cereal and more whole fruits and vegetables instead of fruit substitutes such as juices and snacks loaded with sugar. Resources: Learn about nutrient density at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrient_density and whole foods at http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php Benefits: Green: whole foods are environmentally friendly (less processing) Healthy: Whole foods are richer in their nutrient content and are higher in fiber and lower in sugar content. Cheap: whole foods are cheap when purchased in season. Idea 3. Taste the rainbow: Incorporate colors and textures in your food. Tip: Different textures and colors also make the food appetizing. Incorporating raw and cooked foods add variety of textures and break the monotony of diet foods. This point is linked to both 1 and 2 because typically seasonal foods are also the most color rich, which is an indicator the richness of nutrients in food. Resources: Learn about how to add variety of colors at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn595w.htm Benefits: Green: Eating raw salads once in a while saves energy. Healthy: Raw food is nutrient dense and increases our body’s metabolism, thereby helping us lose weight. Cheap: when bought in season Idea 4. Substitute paper/plastic with reusable bags/containers. For certain items, shop in bulk and bin sections of your store. Tip: Using a washable cloth bag is the easiest way to go green. Most grocery stores have a bulk and bin section where they stock cereals, nuts, and dried fruits. Quality, price and hygiene are considerations so you may need to check out the bulk and bin section of your local store. Resources: Learn about bulk and bin shopping at http://lynnfang.com/2011/05/a-beginners-guide-to-bulk-bin-shopping/ Benefits: Green: is environmentally friendly without the plastic packaging. Healthy: typically the products are less processed one must consider the cons of the bins being less hygienic due to public tampering. Cheap: Often legumes and dried fruits are less expensive per pound compared to a packaged brand. Idea 5. Try drinking filtered tap water instead of bottled water.  Tip: Bottled water is deemed to be more healthy, tasty, and convenient whereas that is NOT true. Travel-friendly substitutes are just as convenient and more eco-friendly. Many of the brands in fact sell bottled filtered tap water. Resources: Learn about bottled water versus tap water at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0 and http://www.allaboutwater.org/environment.html Check out reusable, travel friendly bottles that use filtered water at www.hydrosbottle.com and http://www.brita.com/products/filtering-bottle/brita-bottle-aqua/ Benefits: Green: saves energy from bottling the water and transporting it, and not using plastic bottles. Cheap: filtered tap water is 1/10 the cost and as convenient. Healthy: Tap water in the USA is more regulated than bottled water and hence more likely to adhere to guidelines set by regulators. We love to hear from you, our readers! Let us know what easy, green and healthy ideas you have tried that have worked for you. Write to us at info@herbnzest.com or comment on our post right below!

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