Green Food Tips To Reduce Your Footprint

Analiese Paik

One of the easiest ways to make Earth Day every day is to green your kitchen. Here are some delicious and fun ways to reduce your family's "foodprint" while eating well. You can also view some of Analiese's tips on this Channel 8 news segment. 

1. Buy locally grown food from a farmers' market and learn to cook with the seasons.

Michel Nischan's (of The Dressing Room) latest cookbook is perfect for anyone looking for inspirational ways to cook with the seasons

Best-selling author, restaurateur and Wholesome Wave Foundation founder Michel Nischan's new cookbook, Sustainably Delicious, presents over 100 recipes for home cooks looking for delicious and nutritious ways to prepare seasonal food that is good for the environment, for animals, for farm workers, and for our tables. Michel advises us to "Eat what's available in season, celebrate variety, respect the land and eschew waste." His mission is to show that choosing local and sustainably grown food offers innumerable rewards, including some of the very best flavors Mother Nature has to offer. Who thought a humble parsnip could be this delicious?

2. Choose locally produced food from specialty or grocery stores.

The Farmer's Cow milk is humanely-produced in Connecticut by a cooperative of six family-owned dairies and is free of artificial growth hormones (rBST). When you choose this fresh milk you support local farms, lower your carbon footprint by reducing food miles, support the local economy and ensure farmland preservation.

3. Choose organic where it matters most.

Download the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides or iphone app from Environmental Working Group, familiarize yourself with the worst offenders (the Dirty Dozen), and commit to buying organic instead. Lettuce is a among the worst so choose organic from 2 Guys, a hydroponic greenhouse farm that produces year-round gorgeous vegetables for chefs, retailers and consumers. They are at many area farmers' markets.

4. Choose eco-friendly wines.

Parducci Wine Cellars, America's greenest winery, uses farming practices that result in healthier soil, balanced grapes and higher quality wines. Try their Sustainable White and Paul Dolan Vineyard's Pinot Noir, made from organic and Biodynamic® grapes grown in certified vineyards. A vineyard that is certified biodynamic meets and typically exceeds the standards and regulations for organic certified farming. Biodynamic agriculture began in the 1920s, predating organic agriculture by 20 years.

5. Choose organic, fair trade chocolate, coffee and tea.

Kallari single origin, USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate is truly a chocolate lover's dream and possibly the greenest chocolate available. 100% of the proceeds go to the Kichwa farmers in Ecuadorean Amazon who both grow the cacao and manufacture the chocolate. Available online and at Whole Foods Markets.

6. Use reusable lunch bags instead of single use plastic lunch and snack bags.

Lunch Skins are a completely food and dishwasher safe alternative to single use plastic lunch and snack bags. Use this coupon code for a 10% discount off your online purchase of Lunch Skins: FGFGED10. They're a hit with the kids and you'll love knowing that every time you use them, you're avoiding throwing away a plastic bag.  LunchSkins has an attractive co-branded fundraiser program perfect for any school or organization. 

Also check out our reusable lunchbox roundup.

7. Swear off bottled water.

Plastic water bottles are made from petroleum and are designed to be used once, resulting in a product that is thousands of times more expensive than tap water and no safer, according to a report by Food & Water Watch. Most of these bottles wind up in landfills where they take hundreds of years to break down and can leach harmful chemicals into the ground. Carry a stainless steel thermos instead. I love this wide mouthed one from Thermos that lets you guzzle the water and keeps the water cold even in blistering heat.

8. Grow at least some of your own food.

Buy a potted herb or vegetable plants to start an edible container garden and invite your children to join in the care and harvesting. The one show here is from Moorefield Herb Garden, a vendor at the Fairfield farmers’ market at the Fairfield Theater Company. One easy and inexpensive way to grow what you love is to buy organic vegetable bouquets from Two Guys from Woodbridge at a local farmers' market and give them a second life. After removing the edible portion of the vegetable, plant the root ball in a raised bed or container where it can produce a second harvest.

9. Choose sustainable seafood.

Download the Sustainable Seafood Guide or iphone app from Seafood Watch and commit to limiting your consumption to sustainable seafood choices under the Best Choices and Good Alternatives categories.

Analiese Paik is a regular monthly guest on News Ch. 8’s Good Morning Connecticut Show and her next appearance will be on Sunday, May 9 at 7:45 am. Analiese will be moderating a local food panel discussion at Fairfield’s Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, May 8 and participating in a panel discussion about local food at Wilton’s Go Green Festival on Sunday, May 2 at 12 noon.