Sustainability is "in." Many of today's families are seeking out sustainable products, with food companies doing their best to meet the demand. In fact, Mintel's Global New Products Database discovered more than 13,000 new sustainable food and drink products introduced since 2005.
Even Oprah has gotten into the act. When journalist and food expert Michael Pollan appeared on her show in February, he passionately implored viewers to become more conscious of the food we eat, where it comes from and its effects on the environment.
Registered dietitian Amanda Archibald, founder and owner of inspirational edible education company Field to Plate, weighs in. "Before we can eat sustainably, we must define what sustainability means in our lives and really consider its relevance to us. Sustainability, be it about food choices, land use, energy or wasteful consumption, has to be relevant. Nobody wants to live in a world tomorrow that has less choice and less resources than we have today."
Preserving today's resources for our children is what sustainability embraces.
Model sustainable eating behavior. Get children involved by making food relevant and special in their lives.
Sustainable tips that also save money. Get to know your producers. Take children to the farmers' market so they can talk with growers and discover how fresh produce looks and tastes.
Be picky about organics. Locally grown organic foods are best. Nix the organics shipped from around the world.
Avoid wasting food. How much food do you throw away in a month? One way to minimize this is by reducing refrigerator clutter. Another is planning your family's meals and using up leftovers.
Be stingy about animal proteins. If you enjoy meats, limit the portion size or mix them into soup, stew, stir fries or pasta dishes.
Use the entire vegetable. Reach for loose bunches of lettuce or other greens, rather than the bagged variety. Incorporate stems, inner leaves or greens into stir-fries, soup and salad.
Bag the paper towels. How many rolls do you use-and toss in the garbage-per month? Use a clean dish towel or hand towel to wrap freshly washed greens and herbs in the fridge or to dry produce. Wipe counters with a sponge or rag and toss in the washing machine with your regular load.
Christine M. Palumbo is an award-winning registered dietitian in Naperville where she has been happily incorporating leftovers, composting and otherwise eating sustainably for years. She can be reached at Chris@ChristinePalumbo.com.