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Keep it Green and Save More Green in the Kitchen

We all say we want to eat right, but I hear this excuse everyday – “Eating cleaner is sooo expensive”. Many people simply assume that eating right costs more. Is it true? What if I said you can save money and the environment by eating cleaner?

In reality, as a country we spend less of our money on groceries than we did 30 years ago and the cost of most foods has actually decreased but our food choices have changed significantly. Based on a 20 year study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we now spend a much larger share on processed foods, which includes things like frozen dinners, sweets, canned soups and snacks.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If your health and wellbeing is a priority, then choosing nutrient dense, unprocessed foods has to be a priority. Plus, it can save you money and help the environment.Green is gold when it comes to choosing wisely for your pocket and for Mother Earth by the choices you make.

Just like you would price shop for a computer or a pair of shoes, food should fall into the same category. Be strategic about where you shop and what aisle you head down. If you keep your focus on the perimeter or the ring around the store, you’ll find where the freshest foods live to fill your cart.

Look to ethnic stores and farmers’ markets for some of the best deals on fresh seasonal produce, meats, fish and grains, and look online for the best deals at your local stores. Farmers’ markets are a great social experience for kids and take the focus to locally produced foods. Because foods are cultivated locally at farmer’s markets, you’re supporting your community and enjoying fresher food that has a reduced carbon footprint – which means it hasn’t stepped all over the environment! Focus on fresh fruit, veggies, lean protein and slow burning carbohydrates that come with less packaging and processing.

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Set aside the $6 boxes of cereal, the $5 coffee drinks, the $4 bags of chips and the $3 energy bars. Once you fill your fridge and pantry with ‘smart’ staples, you won’t feel the urge to stock up on convenience and fast food items.

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Here are more tips on how to keep it green and clean!

  • Can I get a price check? Check your favorite retailer’s online to scope out what fresh items are on sale. This is where you’ll usually save the most money, as stores always have featured specials. Plan your shopping trips so you’re cutting down on fuel usage and of course, bring those reusable bags. If you’re picking up perishables, bring a cooler or cooler bag if the ride home is more than an hour long.
  • Go big. Choose larger sized items vs. individual serving sizes (yogurt, nuts, crackers, cheese, etc) in bulk. Pre-portioned, pre-packaged items are usually more expensive and use more packaging and processing.       Use your reusable containers and snack bags to portion them yourself and go bulk.
  • Bulk up. Shop the bulk bins for beans, rice, quinoa, bulgur, cereal, spices and other bulk items. They are almost always more of a value than the name brands. Also consider adopting a meal habit like Meatless Monday, which emphasizes plant based ingredients that have a lower impact on the environment.
  • Hydrate smart. It’s just too easy to grab bottles drinks, but they can really add up at $3-5 a piece. A water filter or pitcher are better for the environment and will save you a lot of money. Make your own juice, herbal tea or spa water and drink more everyday – just add slices of lemon, lime and cucumber.
  • Grow your own. Once picked, nutritional value of your produce will immediately start to decline. With transportation time from the field to your local store, it’s estimated they only retain about 45% of their nutrients by the time you get them home.Growing your own is healthier, cheaper, and better tasting – even if it’s just a simple herb pot on your windowsill.
  • Use eco-safe tools and utensils.       A lot of chemical coatings are used on cookware, containers and other cooking utensils. Always opt for BPA and Thalate-Free plastic or glass storage containers and beware of Teflon and non-stick pan coatings. Ceramic coated and heavy cast iron cookware are usually good safe, durable choices.
  • Pre-wash your produce. Every year, about 40% of all produce grown gets thrown into landfills. Landfills are huge contributors of methane gas, which is 20 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide emissions. Invest in a composting bin for food that has gone past its prime. Our Eat Cleaner Fruit + Vegetable Wash also extends your produce shelf life up to 200% longer, naturally. Plus you’re cleaning your fruit and veggies of potentially harmful pesticides and bacteria.
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Mareya Ibrahim (aka The Fit Foodie) is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, inventor, and PAM Advisor. She is the founder and CEO of Grow Green Industries, Inc, creators of patented, plant-based organic and Kosher solutions for food safety under the brands eatCleaner®, eatSafeTM and eatFreshTM (www.eatcleaner.com). She is a nationally recognized expert on food safety and eating clean and the author of “The Clean Eating Handbook: 31 Essential Rules for health, wellness and a fabulously fit life” and host of “The Real Dish”, a new podcast about real food, real people and real life on iTunes and Stitcher.

For more information on how you can keep a green and clean kitchen with my Fit Foodie Filosophies PLUS the chance to win a Eat Cleaner, Be Greener Kitchen basket worth $300, follow @eatcleaner on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and @eatcleanerfood on Twitter.

Also tune into my new podcast, The Real Dish on iTunes. Real food, real people and food for thought you can really sink your teeth into.

DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mareya Ibrahim and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Mareya Ibrahim.  Consult with your own medical provider regarding your individual health questions or concerns.

Chef Mareya Ibrahim, Green, Mareya Ibrahim, nutrition, organic cooking, Pregnancy Awareness Month, saving money, saving the environment, sustainable living, The Fit Foodie, The Real Dish, Wellness, Whole Foods

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