From bringing your own bag to buying in bulk, here are 5 simple ways to shop greener at the grocery store.
Over the years I’ve made a conscious effort to change the way I shop for food. I started to look for ways to reduce my consumption and reuse or recycle whenever possible. I became more keenly aware of the impact that even small changes in my purchasing habits can make on the environment and looked for simple ways to be more environmentally-friendly both at home and when I shop.
Buying groceries is one of those things we all have to do often which makes it the ideal place to start to make meaningful changes. From the types of groceries you buy to the bags you carry them home in, there are lots of opportunities to shop greener at the grocery store.
Here’s how I shop greener:
- I Make a List and Try to Buy Only What I Need
Buying things you don’t need is wasteful, as is buying too much of the things you do need, which then spoils or ends up being trashed. I have to admit, overbuying has always been a challenge for me. I’m easily swayed into impulse buys as I roam the grocery store aisles so I try to make a list and stick to it as much as possible. Does that mean I’m never going to buy anything that’s not on my list? No, but it does mean that I’m consciously choosing to purchase items that aren’t on the list rather than mindlessly throwing things into my cart.
- I Shop Close to Home or Walk
When I need something from the store I walk, that way I get some fresh air and exercise while running errands. It’s the perfect way to multitask and reduce your carbon footprint by not jumping in the car every time you need to run to the store. I have a Whole Foods Market less than 2 miles away, so I just grab a bag on my way out for my daily walk in case I need to stop in for anything.
- I Bring My Own Bags and Reuse Old Bags
Speaking of bags, I always keep reusable bags handy and easily accessible. I have some in the car, in my purse, and stacked in the closet near the backdoor so I can easily bring one whenever I need to run an errand. (My local Whole Foods gives back 10 cents for each bag you bring in which is also a nice incentive to remember to bring a bag.) If I’ve got old plastic bags I reuse those too to put items from the bulk bins in or any produce that needs a waterproof barrier before going in the cart or bag.
- I Buy in Bulk and Look for Minimal Packaging
Packaging equals waste so I try to buy what I can from the bulk bins. I’ve amassed a collection of various sized jars over the years that I use to store everything in at home. Buying from the bulk bins also means you can buy just what you know you’ll use, which reduces wastefulness as well. When I can’t buy from the bulk bins I try to purchase items with minimal packaging or that come in containers I can re-purpose or recycle easily. (Hence my extensive jar collection!)
- I Buy Organic When Possible
Buying organic means fewer pesticides gets into our land and water which is healthier for everyone. Again, perfection isn’t required here just doing the best we can and making conscious choices. I avoid the dirty dozen and don’t discount frozen fruits and vegetables, especially if eating out of season or I can’t find organic options. (Look for the 365 Everyday Value brand at Whole Foods Market for great prices on organic items year round.)
There are so many small changes we can make in the way we shop for food that impacts both the environment and our health which is why I support companies like Whole Foods Market who are committed to offering shoppers greener options, and I’m happy to partner with them today to bring you the chance to win a $100 gift card to shop in any of their stores so you can green your shopping routine as well!
(This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Gourmande in the Kitchen.)
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.