Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

Earth Eats' Top 10 Ways To Go Green In The New Year

new seedlings sprout from the forest floor

The new year is upon us, and as with the dawn of each new year, this one will undoubtedly come complete with a list of new year's resolutions!

Typically found on the list of resolutions are some variation of "A": joining a gym, "'B": eating less, "C": drinking less, or "D": spending less.

BUT, times are changing and many people are thinking about steps they can take to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.

In honor of that, we've got 10 helpful tips that will lead you in the right direction toward leading a leaner, greener life specifically when it comes to eating.

And the best part – many of these tips will actually help you slim your waist line AND spend less money.

So, here are 10 Ways to Go Green in The New Year:

  • Meatless Mondays – go vegetarian for a day! Studies show that if every American ate "vegetarian" one day out of every week, it would the same as taking 8 million cars off the road!
  • Give up sugary beverages, like your morning orange juice or coke. You'll go down a pant size AND refrain from contributing unnecessary packaging waste.
  • Dine in! It's usually cheaper! By cooking at home, YOU can monitor the amount of spices, cooking oils, and sauces that are put in the tasty dish. When eating out Italian, the cream sauce in you fettuccini can easily equal a day's worth of calories.
  • Fruits, veggies, and...more fruits and veggies – If you really want watch the calories, nutritionists suggest having fruits and veggies make up the largest portions on your plate. A lot of times, it can be hard saying "No" to all the ready-made, pre-packaged junk foods you find at your super market. So, when grocery shopping, dieticians recommend sticking to the part of the store where produce is normally found. Better yet, make a trip to the local farmers market! or grow your own. Growing veggies requires less energy AND they don't emit any greenhouse gases.
  • Reduce your portion sizes whether you're eating at home or eating out and ALWAYS take leftovers home with you to save another trip to the store or your favorite restaurant
  • Keep your freezer full – a full freezer uses less energy than an empty one.
  • Use the dishwasher – research shows that an electric dishwasher usually outperforms a human when in comes to water efficiency.
  • Don't open the oven door – each time you take a peek at that delicious casserole, the oven loses 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Support area farmers by EATING LOCAL! You'll also be reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Take baby steps to organic – start by replacing two items each week on your grocery list with the organic alternative. The average American is exposed to five pesticides a day. By eating organic for just five days, you'll dramatically reduce the amount of pesticides you put into your body.

We hope these tips are helpful! Before you start working these into your daily routines... remember, don't overwhelm yourself with New Years resolutions. Shoot for attainable goals.

Set Attainable Goals

For example, if you want to loose weight, it's probably not realistic to say you're going to loose 25 pounds by then end of the month! At the same time, if you fall out of your "healthy" or "green" routine, don't look at that resolution as a total failure.

Re-evaluate what you need to work on and take small steps toward attaining your goal of living a greener lifestyle in the new year.

Most importantly, once you've decided your New Years resolutions, DON'T focus on the goal. Rather, think about the steps you're going to take to get there.

Facing The New Year: Cleansing Your Body And Mind

Another way to get a fresh, confident start to your new year: take TIME for YOURSELF. Cleanse the body and soul. Planet Green's Sara Novak recently published a 7 Step Guide to a Full Mind/Body Detox in the New Year.

There's room for debate with a few of these suggestions (tongue scraping, colon hydrotherapy) but the suggestions of eating better, making time for yoga, meditation, or massage and getting more (and better) sleep are sure to help brighten your new year.

And remember, as refreshing as these tips are, Novak advises (and we strongly second) consulting your doctor if you plan on making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise regimen.

Read More: 7 Step Guide to a Full Mind/Body Detox In The New Year (Planet Green)

YOUR Resolutions

What are your new year's resolutions? Let us know in the comments!

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Harvest Public Media