Starting to eat eco-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! Here are 5 ways to start eating eco-friendly without breaking the bank:
1.Swap your liquid dairy for plant-based milk like almond milk or soy milk
Swapping liquid milk for plant-based milk is one of the easiest and cheapest ways I found to start making your first steps toward eating eco-friendly. Plant-based milk is more eco-friendly because it is much easier, more efficient and ethical to produce alternative milk from nuts and plants than a mother cow (plus it tastes better). Switching to plant-based milk will actually give you more options at the grocery store. Instead of looking for whole, 2%, skim, and chocolate, you can look for soy, almond, hazelnut, hemp, oat, rice, cashew, pistachio, pecan, coconut milk and many more specialty flavors.
Alternative milk can be used in anything regular milk can be used for. Anything from coffee creamer to milk in a cake, alternative milk will work for just about anything, even milk in cereal. As for nutrients, some alternative milk has the same amount of protein, sugar, and calories as regular milk, but it tends to vary from milk to milk.
As for the price of alternative milk, they tend to vary store to store and region to region. A gallon (128 oz) of whole milk (great value brand) at Walmart is $1.68 and broken down by the ounce, it’s about $.01. Walmart also sells alternative milk, such as 96 oz of silk almond milk for $3.97, and by the ounce, it is $.04. This is consistent with the fact that plant-based milk tends to be more expensive than regular milk, but are not actually expensive in reality.
2.Buy whole foods
Buying whole foods instead of processed foods is one of the single most eco-friendly swaps there is to make, and it can even help to save you money and inches around your waist. “Whole foods” refers to any fruit, vegetable, and even grains, that are not processed or prepared. By adding more whole, unprocessed foods into your diet you will be able to cut down on plastic and packaging material and increase the amount of whole, nutritious plants in your diet.
Plastics and packaging materials have overrun our grocery stores and turned them into what would be closer to a toy store than a market. Buying whole foods circumvents the plastic filled isles and focuses on what grocery stores originally sold: real food. The best way to reduce your plastic consumption in the grocery store is to not only buy whole foods but to buy whole foods and bring your own reusable bags to store them in. This will eliminate most, if not all of plastic use in the grocery store.
Processed foods are one of the farthest things from being eco-friendly, as opposed to whole foods. A typical processed food will have ingredients from multiple locations, even countries, assembled in a factory, then sealed in a non-recyclable package, and shipped to grocery stores across a country or region. Processed foods drain resources from every sector: gas, land, water, labor, oil, and more depending on the product. By eating and buying more whole foods, you eliminate all of this and cut it down to a shorter, and more eco-friendly process.
Buying local is another amazing way to start eating eco-friendly because buying local means the food has to travel less to the market and is fresher than grocery store products, but it also supports local businesses in your area and can even help you to find new things you might like. Every local market is different because of time of the year and location. My local market as a diverse array of local specialty jams and jellies, as well as handmade soaps, locally raised meat and honey, and artisanal bread and pastries.
When produce comes to grocery stores, unless otherwise specified, it comes from far away states, and sometimes even shipped from different countries. This requires the resources to not only grow the produce but to ship it or drive it potentially hundreds of miles away from where it was actually grown. This requires much more resources than a locally grown fruit or vegetable.
Even if you buy one fruit locally, or buy one more unpackaged vegetable at your grocery store, or switch half of your dairy milk for a plant-based milk, you are making changes to start eating more eco-friendly and helping the environment. Change is not about making things perfect or doing everything all at once, it’s about trying your best and being consistent.
If you like this article please check out my other blog posts and check out my Instagram the_eco_yogi!