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Apr 22

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Make Real Eating Commitments to Celebrate Earth Day – April 22nd.

This year we thought a great way to celebrate Earth Day would be to take small steps towards big changes in the way we participate in eating real and sustainable foods.  The cold spell this past week also had us tossing around ideas on how to celebrate with indoor activities to boost our healthy eating habits.  What came of those discussions were the following five ways to honor the earth as well as make lasting changes involving our commitment to eat real…

1. Find a local food source.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

CSAs are an excellent source for fresh, local food.  I found out this week that our first CSA box is scheduled for early June, so long as Mother Nature cooperates.  My mouth is watering at the thought of all of those super fresh vegetables!  To find a CSA in your area check out the Local Harvest website.

Farmer’s Markets

If you are fortunate enough to have access to a year-round farmers market, you may not be as excited as the rest of us for this time of year to arrive.  But for those who are seem relegated to grocery store fare in the off season, the prospect of upcoming weekend trips to explore the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market is a highlight of spring and early summer.  Local Harvest also has information on markets in your area.

Home Gardening

It doesn’t take much space to plant a few of your favorite veggies for the freshest food possible during the season.  If your space and/or time is especially limited, container gardening is another possibility for having vegetables and herbs on hand to add some local fresh flavor to your healthy recipes.  Most gardening or outdoor stores will share tips on how to get started and what works well in your particular area.

Local Meat Shops

While waiting for our other plans to obtain more local foods to come to fruition, we started using our dollars to vote for local food production by buying our meat and eggs at our neighborhood butcher shop.  It’s a win-win: we know where our food is coming from and we are supporting our local economy.

Check out our earlier post Fresh Is Best for more detailed information on how to incorporate local foods into your real eating plan.

 

2. Spring clean your kitchen staples – “in with the clean food out with the bad”.

Examine the expiration dates

Most of us are diligent about ridding our refrigerators of expired foods, if for no other reason than the offending smells which remind us to do so.  But now is also the time to rid yourself of canned and boxed foods whose shelf life has come to an end.  If you are prone to keeping a lot of these types of foods around, it is also a good idea to rearrange things so items whose expiration dates are approaching are at the forefront and ready to be used in the near future.  If you are a canned food hoarder, or if you just couldn’t help but buy stacks of items at the last 10 for $10 sale, consider donating some of your packaged goods to your local food pantry.

Examine the labels.

If you’ve read the Kung Pao Lettuce Wraps recipe post, you’ve already heard about my label shock from the ingredients in soy sauce.  This shock led to more label reading and a purging of the items whose ingredients offended my sense of eating real.  Need help discerning what to keep and what to toss?  Fooducate is an excellent online source and also an app for your smart phone.  You can look up items, or scan the barcode if your device has the capability, and learn about an item’s specific ingredients.  The developers also give foods a grade you can use to compare how a particular item stacks up nutritionally to similar items.

 

3. Make a week long menu filled with healthy recipes.

It is easier to maintain real eating throughout the week if you have a plan up front.  Try writing down a menu full of real foods for one week and sticking to the plan.  This will also help trim time and money from a grocery trip by keeping you focused only on what you really need for the week.

 

4. Perimeter shop during your weekly shopping run.

Grocery stores keep their freshest items around the perimeter of the building, likely for ease of transport and the continued restocking necessitated by the ever revolving expiration dates of the fresher items.  This works in a healthy food shopper’s favor, as you can make a loop around this perimeter to get everything you need for your weekly plan.

 

5. Try a new vegetable.

Does everything else on the list seem daunting?  Try this easy one then – find a recipe for a vegetable you’ve never cooked with (or even better, never eaten!) and give it a go.  Brussel sprouts, kale, swiss chard, white asparagus, eggplant – whatever it is search the web and there is sure to be a recipe which catches your eye.  You may just find a new favorite in the process.

For a complete collection of recipes for some of those less familiar vegetables, check out From Asparagus to Zucchini which has listings of common CSA vegetables accompanied by preparation instructions and recipes.

 

Whatever way you decide to celebrate Earth Day, we’d love to hear about it.  Leave your comments at the bottom of this post or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eatingreal

Permanent link to this article: http://eatingreal.com/blog/2012/04/make-real-eating-commitments-to-celebrate-earth-day-april-22nd/

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