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Food Day, on October 24th is a national event created by the Center of Science in the Public Interest to encourage Americans to change their diets and our food policies.  “Toward a Greener Diet” is the focus of this year’s Food Day celebrations.  The idea is to change your diet so it contains healthier and more sustainably produced foods, increasing the likelihood that you and your family can enjoy greater health in the years to come and have less impact on the environment.  The greener diet involves using plant-based foods as the basis for your family’s meals and snacks instead of meats and highly processed items. This may be a very different way of eating for some of us, and there is such a wide variety of “greener” foods available.  Are you wondering where to begin? Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1)  Adopt a Meatless Monday!  Try a vegetarian meal at least one day per week. Looking for ideas?  The Food Day website offers free online e-cookbooks full of vegetarian recipes for you to try. Here’s the link to one: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/foodday/pages/15743/attachments/original/1440170173/Food_Day_Toolkit.pdf?1440170173.

2) Make fruits and vegetables the main portion of your family meal and serve meat as a side dish.  Fruits and vegetables should make up half your plate.

3) Purchase meats from animals that have been raised without antibiotics.  Check the labels at the grocery store or ask the butcher.

4) Drink water instead of soda.  You and your children will also benefit from healthier teeth.

5) Try some new whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat or barley.  Whole grains are a great source of fiber which will help fill you up.  Have the kids select a new one to try.

6) Grab a fruit to enjoy as a snack instead of an overly salted packaged item.  Pack up fruit as an on-the-go snack for the kids.

7) Purchase produce from local farmers and farmers’ markets.  In October you can find leafy greens, apples, pears, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and a wide variety of squash.  Remember, buying in season is always a good idea, since out-of-season fruits and vegetables are usually more expensive.

8) Purchase meats, poultry, eggs, etc. from farms that treat their animals humanely.  Take your children to a farm to help them learn where our food comes from.

9) Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is generally where you can find the less processed foods.

10)  Involve the kids in cooking the foods they chose at the grocery store.  They will be more likely to eat something different.

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