August 07, 2008

We’ve all heard the saying, “History repeats itself.” Whether it’s fashion, the type of men or women you date, or the economy, there seems to be a never-ending cycle of ideas, trends, and problems. In my case, it’s roommates. They’ve all been Lean-Cuisine loving, non-recycling, “What’s sustainability again?” kind of gals. That is to say, before they lived with me. I like to think of myself as a transformer, a magician with a magical culinary wand that transforms palates and changes outlooks on environmental activism. So, I’ve decided to give you simple tips and hints that I’ve given my roommates over the years. I hope you find them helpful.

1.Never eat frozen dinners. They're packed with sodium, fat, and artificial ingredients. Remember, even though the chicken looks like chicken and smells like chicken, it tastes like rubber.
2.Avoid processed foods. Whipping up pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, and using fresh vegetables is easy, tastes better, and isn’t packed with sodium, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors.
3.Don’t buy individual servings of snacks. I love snacking on almonds and fat-free pudding. I buy almonds in bulk and separate them into 1 oz. servings, and I make pudding from a box rather than buying snack packs. The savings add up quickly.
4.Buy local produce. Supermarket food comes from exotic locations, like South America, and it takes days to reach the grocery meaning, it’s no longer fresh when it’s in your shopping cart. Eating local means eating fresh. At many farmer’s markets or local co-op's produce can go from the farm to your kitchen in one day.
5.Eat Seasonally. Nothing beats a juicy summer tomato, but a tasteless, out-of-season tomato is a disgrace. Eating seasonal produce wows dishes with its unbeatable flavor and nutritional value.
6.Plan a weekly menu. I love MyRecipes.com’s new 1 List, 5 Meals. Having a weekly plan saves money. To create your own list, look in your pantry and try to make meals that incorporate what you already have on-hand.
7.Use eco-friendly bags. I like to keep 2-3 in my car at all times. Insulated versions for cold and frozen food are now available.
8. Eat Dessert. We're constantly shown images of willowy women with unrealistic body types. We starve ourselves to fit in skinny jeans. Well I say splurge. Keep yourself happy by indulging sparingly and staying on the path to a long healthy life.

Have any other great ideas you’d like to share?

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