Many Americans are heeding the call to go green, but for those still resisting the main reason is often the exorbitant cost. While trading in that gas-guzzler for a Tesla and installing solar panels on your roof are still idealistic luxuries, there are several affordable changes you can make to your lifestyle today to reap the benefits of going green – and one great place to start is with your diet. Work the following tips into yours and you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.
1. Buy Locally Grown Ingredients
Purchase your fruits and vegetables from a local farm or farmers market in your area. You can eat fresher ingredients and significantly reduce carbon emissions caused by the transportation of groceries. Farmers markets offer a wider variety of produce, competitive pricing, and quality equal to, if not better than, your local grocer. Plus, everyone benefits from a little support of their neighborhood mom-and-pop stands.
2. Eat In More
Dining out costs money. Even if you just factor in the cost of buying lunch on workdays at $10 per day, that adds up to more than $2,000 a year. Brown-bagging lunches and carefully planning out breakfasts and dinners can make for serious savings on your grocery bill – and, even more importantly, you control what goes into your body. The energy restaurants expend running industrial dishwashers, lights, and air conditioning are significant. Plus, you can help lower carbon emissions by driving less frequently to your local dining establishment.
3. Eat Less Meat
Livestock accounts for almost 20% of the world’s greenhouse gases – more than carbon-emitting vehicles. If Americans reduce their red-meat consumption by just one hamburger per week, it would equate to taking a car off the road for some 320 miles. Red meat generally costs more than chicken or pork, plus it’s high in cholesterol and arguably makes you more vulnerable to food poisoning, according to a study published in Nature. There are plenty of tasty and frugal recipes without red meat, so don’t be afraid to explore new territory.
4. Start a Garden
By planting a backyard home garden you can eat 100% freshly grown, pesticide-free, super-cheap organic foods. Give your body great exercise working outside and reduce your carbon footprint by relying less on trips to grocery stores. And don’t fret if you live in a small space – window box gardens are easy and fun to maintain, too. Studies have shown that kids who help grow things are more likely to try new foods, so if you do want to give them that experience and really don’t have the facilities, investigate whether your town has a community garden – then sign on.
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