The Dirty Dozen of Fruits & Vegetables

The Dirty Dozen of Fruits & VegetablesThe very helpful “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists for 2016 have just been released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). These two important lists have been designed to help you maintain healthier fruits and vegetables eating habits and make wiser green choices.

How to Use the List

It’s fairly easily. Here’s how you use the list.

  1. Memorize both sides of list. No can do? Copy the above image and take it with you to the store when you’re shopping for healthy vegetables and fruits.
  2. FIRST CHOICE. Choose items on the Clean 15 side, since they showed fewer traces of pesticides when tested.
  3. SECOND CHOICE. Choose items on the Dirty Dozen side, since they showed more traces of pesticides when tested. Try to always buy these items organic when possible and always wash or soak them with special care.

These lists have changed over the years since growers are eager to get their produce off the dirty list and on to the clean list. Therefore, always make sure you look at the most recent list.

Eat Healthy

Experts recommend that individuals and families eat two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables each day. A diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables has a multitude of health benefits.  Not only do fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, they are also loaded with fiber. They can help you maintain your health, improve your sense of well being and help fight disease.

Good, Clean Choices

Although it’s always smart to buy and eat healthy fruits and vegetables on the Clean 15 list, even conventionally grown fruits from the Dirty Dozen are better than foods containing bad fats, loads of sugar and foods that have been processed. Just make sure you always wash or soak them before eating. For that matter, always wash and soak your organic and home-grown produce as well. After all, they have probably been handled by you (working with dirt in your garden), store employees (working with who knows what) and before they reached the store or your table, these items were probably inspected by flying and crawling insects and bugs.

Buy Organic When Possible

It is always wise to purchase organic produce whenever you can afford it. If not, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables in your backyard garden, on your patio or even inside your home. However, clearly, sometimes those options aren’t possible. Either you don’t have the time, space or the wherewithal to make that commitment. With that said, the Environmental Working Group and other health experts maintain that eating conventionally (non-organically) grown fruits and vegetables is better than not eating any fruits and vegetables at all, so if you can’t grow your own, be sure to buy them in stores or at your local farmer’s markets.

Note:  Remember to keep an eye on The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists when shopping and continue to eat your fruits and vegetables like nobody’s business!


11 Ways to Stop Food Waste

11 Ways To Avoid Food WasteIf you’re looking for green tips to save money and the planet, here’s something you can start doing right now. Do your absolute best to avoid food waste.

The University of Arizona reported that most households throw out about 475 pounds of food each year. You don’t want to be just another statistic, do you?

You can stop wasting food by practicing a few simple good green habits!

11 Green Habits to Avoid Food Waste

  1. Create Menus. Before you shop, make a menu. If you plan ahead, you’ll know what you need and you’ll also know how much to buy, and you won’t end up buying too much.
  2. Shop on A Full Stomach. You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Shopping on an empty stomach will have you buying on impulse and over-buying snack foods and quick fixes.
  3. Share With Others. If you end up with more food than you can eat, send the extra to school with your kids, take it with you to work, or drop it off at a homeless shelter.
  4. Make Only What’s Needed. Many times we plan to eat leftovers and the leftovers just don’t get eaten. Ask your family about their plans for the next few days. If it looks like they won’t be around, cut back on the amount of food you make or.
  5. Create Something New. Use your leftovers to create a brand new dish. For example, get creative by noodles or rice and veggies to left over chili.
  6. Label Cold Food. Before putting food the fridge, date items with a permanent marker on a piece of tape and put the oldest item in the back so that you’re constantly rotating items to the front.
  7. Freeze Individual Portions. You may not have a full meal with your leftover, but you might have enough left over for several portions. So, freeze single portion sizes for times when you only want or need to serve just one person.
  8. Buy From Bulk Bins. Instead of buying boxed or bagged items, buy only what you need from bulk bins. You’ll save money because bulk binned food is usually less expensive, you won’t end up buying what you don’t need, and you create less packaging trash.
  9. Whip Up A Smoothie. Get creative with less-than-fresh fruits and vegetables by making smoothies in your blender.
  10. It’s Soup Time. Throw all your leftovers (including items like rice, noodles, meat, and vegetables) into a pot, add some broth, and make a delicious hot soup. If you don’t like the way it looks or like a creamier soup, add a little non-sweetened almond milk and blend it or use a hand-held mixer or stir stick.
  11. Bake It. Throw leftovers, especially greens like spinach and kale and also meats and other dishes, into a baking dish. Whisk several eggs,  a bit of water, salt and pepper in a separate dish.  If you’ve got any shredded cheese, add it. Drizzle the mixture over the leftovers and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, allowing the egg mixture to completely cook. Voila, a very nice fritada of sorts.

Open your mind. Tighten your purse strings. Help stop food waste.

How do you avoid food waste?