Broke Guide to Green Food
A while back we gave you a broke guide to fast fashion, so we figured why not extend that broke guide to food - green food specifically (this is the ALDA blog after all.) We already gave you an intro to green food, but if we’re being honest, the tips we laid out aren’t always for the money-conscious. The green premium can be a very real thing, which is obviously a problem for all the peeps who want to green their lifestyle but don’t have the funds to.
So without further ado, your guide to eating green on the cheap:
Eat vegetarian (at least sometimes)
Meat can get pretty spendy, and maybe you don’t want to stop eating it completely (or just aren’t into sitting with the eco warriors when you’re at school.) BUT! Leaving the meat out of one or two meals a day, or even a week, can decrease your environmental footprint while improving the cash flow in your life.
But can’t being vegetarian or vegan be tough on your wallet too? It can if you buy all the WRONG stuff. There’s cheap stuff out there too though. And no, you don’t have to eat the weird white block things hanging out in water at the grocery store (also known as tofu.)
Can’t think of protein replacements though? Try something like refried beans and brown rice, a whole wheat pasta casserole, and/or black bean burritos. Because if there’s anything that’s forever cheap, it’s cans of black beans (how many hams can a toucan can if a toucan can can hams?)
Not ready to cut back on meat just yet? You can always cut back on dairy and eggs first (or instead.) Isn’t breastfeeding from a cow kinda weird anyway?
DIY Your Junk Food
Is baking potato chips the same as buying a pre-made batch and chowing down instantly? Maybe not, but while junk food looks inexpensive, it adds up if you eat it on the regular. Not to mention your health will start to give you the middle finger.
For you, the main benefit of making your favorite snacks is that you can make a shitload for cheaper, compared to how much you’d end up spending on several bags of chips (not to mention the bags end up being half full of air anyway.) Plus you get to make it from the comfort of your own home rather than needing to bum a ride from your bestie so you can get to the nearest convenience store or supermarket. What exactly makes them more environmentally friendly though? Probably unsurprisingly, our favorite junk foods aren’t exactly sustainable because they use the conventional farming methods we mentioned in our previous posts. Not to mention they come with WAAAAY too much packaging that’s hard to throw away sustainably.
Still not convinced you can actually make anything yourself though? Homemade snacks might seem as unreal as unicorns but I swear they’re not! You can make potato chips, french fries (sweet potato or regular, thank you very much), cheese crackers, granola mixes (throw some chocolate chips in and you’ve basically got trail mix) - hell, you can make anything. Basically, if it’s in a grocery store, you can make it!
Buy from Farmers Markets...They’re Cheaper than You Think
So I pretty much beat the tip of going to farmers markets to death in our last post. But in my defense, it’s basically the easiest way to get your hands on sustainable goods to stuff your face with. Problem is, farmers markets have a bad rap for being mad spendy, which isn’t entirely true. Sure, the prices can get pretty high up there, but everything at a farmers market isn’t inherently crazy expensive.
The difference between farmers markets and supermarkets is that there isn’t really standardized pricing. Some farmers might charge a little more, some a little less. You’ve gotta scope out the best prices while strolling through the market - not SO different from what you do at a regular grocery store, is it?
I won’t mention that the value of the food you’re buying is higher (even though it is), because if you don’t got the money, you don’t got the money. But just a friendly reminder, you don’t have to buy EVERYTHING in your kitchen from a farmers market. But you could pick up a few things, and this is an especially good thing to try to do if you’re prone to not getting your day’s worth of produce.
P.S. Not sure how to find a farmers market in your area? If google fails you, you can always use Local Harvest. Just type in your zip code and KABAM: farmers markets in your area!
Another way you can protect the environment while still eating on a budget? The dreaded “eating organic” you probably hear all the time. If you’ve ever walked into a store and compared organic and conventional food then you know there’s often, if not always, a price hike between the two. So what’s a broke kid to do?
The most important thing is: don’t assume you need to buy everything organic. Some foods are more sensitive to pesticides, while some don’t absorb them as much (synthetic or otherwise.) So maybe don’t chuck out your cold hard cash that are in the less sensitive category, like avocados, kiwis, and onions.
You can also refer to the ever-popular Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. Been living under a rock and haven’t heard of them? Basically the clean 15 are the produce that are least likely to be grown with a buttload of pesticides, while the dirty dozen is the exact opposite. So clean 15 good, dirty dozen bad. Buy from the former.
So this post not only improves the state of your wallet, but also the environment. With that being said, happy shopping and #protectyourwild.
Eat vegetarian (the affordable stuff, not the hella expensive stuff) once or twice a week
EXAMPLE: a black bean burrito or somethin'
DIY your junk food - eating green doesn't have to mean being a superhero in the health department all the time after all!
EXAMPLE: Sweet potato fries, regular fries, potato chips, and the list goes on
Buy the cheap stuff at farmer's markets (cause yes, they exist.)
Buy organic, but only the stuff you need to.
EXAMPLE: Some foods are more sensitive to pesticides, while others (e.g. avocados, kiwis, onions) don’t absorb them as much.
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By Darian Williams, ALDA's Blog and Digital Marketing Specialist Intern