When it comes to making the world a better place, one way you can make a difference is to simply “green” your diet. I’m not talking about exhausting your bank account by purchasing expensive organic foods – rather, you can make some changes to your diet so that it is more environmentally friendly and saves you money. It may take a little work and require some life changes, but if you’re up for the challenge, it’s not that hard to pull off.
1. Eat More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Livestock is a major cause of greenhouse gases. Transitioning away from red meat and focusing more on fresh fruits and vegetables is an environmentally conscious choice, and is less expensive as well. To further impact your savings, look for a local farmers’ market or farm stand where you can find cheaper prices than those at your national grocer.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are loaded with fillers, preservatives, and other unhealthy ingredients. Plus, by eliminating these foods from your diet, you’ll reduce the amount of plastic and paper packaging that goes into landfills. Fresh foods are not only healthier for your body and the planet, but they often cost less money.
3. Cook at Home
Cooking at home instead of eating out offers a variety of benefits. You can control the ingredients used in a dish you’ve prepared yourself, and you’ll certainly save money. This may require a commitment of time in the kitchen, but the advantages make it well worth it.
4. Start a Garden
Although you probably have to wait until spring time, starting a home vegetable garden is an awesome way to naturalize your diet and save money at the same time. Your costs will be limited to seeds and potting soil, and with a little elbow grease, you can grow your own produce right in your backyard. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the seed packets, and inspect your garden on a timely basis for insects or other pests.
5. Save on Organics
Organic foods can be expensive, but there are ways that you can save. First, keep track of the circulars and coupons of your preferred grocer, and take advantage of any organic items that go on sale. Next, sign up for a daily deal website such as Groupon. From time to time, these sites offer discounts on gift cards for purchases at organic grocers, such as Whole Foods Market.
(Use the Dirty Dozen list, to prioritize the best produce to buy organic.)
When gone about in the right fashion, greening your diet offers the dual benefit of improving your bank account and the environment, allowing you to live a healthier lifestyle, both physically and financially. Even if you have to change your diet a bit, it’s worth it considering the many benefits.
What other ways can you suggest to make your diet more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective?
David Bakke lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he focuses on further greening his lifestyle. He blogs about saving money and managing finances on the website, Money Crashers Personal Finance.