My mom's a boomer, so when she asked for a few tips for Earth Month to share with her friends at book club on slimming her carbon footprint and her waistline, it got me thinking. This audience has tremendous economic clout and can truly help fight global warming through their forks. Today's boomers are activity seeking out information to help them get the most out of their golden years all while trying to navigate the flurry of new technology. So, this guide is for you, mom, and all the other boomers out there looking for easy ways to start treading a little lighter this Earth Month. 1) What: Put FISHPHONE on Speed dial: 30644
Whenever I share this tip with the groups that I speak with across the country they all say how much they LOVE this trick. Simply type FISH (in all caps) to 30644, followed by the type of fish you are considering and within 10 seconds you'll receive a return text telling you if that catch is sustainable or not, as well as any health advisories related to your choice.
Why for Boomers: Boomers should be eating fish-based meals about twice a week to reduce their risk of heart disease and to bone up on those super healthy omega-3 fats. Bonus? No need to try and remember one more thing, let FISHPHONE keep up on the latest news for you.
2) What: Build a Bento Box
Based on a Japanese-style meal presentation, this fun box-based meal system not only promotes food waste reduction, but is a dietitian's dream because people don't realize that it's essentially portion control. This is an easy way to keep food separate, but still be stylish. Plus many brands today now boast materials that are eco-friendly. I love Laptop Lunchboxes because they're easy and fun.
Why for Boomers: Bento Boxes are a green multi-tasker. The portion sizes help keep your waistline in check, especially when you're trying to portion control that special someone of yours. Pack some humus, tabouleh, olives, and pita bread into the separate boxes and they'll stay fresh until you're ready to whip them out and impress your mah-john group or tote to your next board meeting. Try packing last night's extra brown rice with some cubed tofu or chickpeas drizzled with your favorite Indian curry sauce, a bit of mango chutney and a whole grain pita for another delicious combo that's lean and green.
Bento Boxes are also a stylish solution to curbing restaurant waste because they are the perfect restaurant-to-go containers. Simply stash one in your car and pop it into your purse or bag on your way to your favorite eatery. Plus, bentos are an eco-chic way to pack picnics for the grandkids.
Perfect portions, perfect reusable container for the planet, a perfect win-win!
3) Buy Better Bread
Choose 100% whole grain bread that's 100% all natural. This ensures that a daily staple in your diet is better for you and better for the planet.
Why for Boomers: Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are two of the leading health risks for boomers. However, research has shown that consumption of whole grains significantly reduces the risk of both, while also helping to keep you slim. Now whole grains are easier than ever to find at the supermarket.
I am a big fan of EarthGrains bread because it's 100% whole grain and has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which I love. Now, 20% of the grain inside each loaf is Eco-Grain™, a wheat grown using "precision agriculture" that helps reduce the amount of fertilizer and fuel associated with production. With six varieties to choose from, each flavor tastes great and is something that the whole crew (kids and grandkids) will eat without a problem.
4) What: Load Up On Legumes
Looking for a path to weight loss or cure for a health hangover? Legumes are one of the closest "silver bullet" foods there is in terms of transforming your health. (That, plus fruits and veggies, but you already knew that). I recommend people aim to include about one cup a day to their diets.
Why for Boomers: Beans are a good choice for protein that's both eco-friendly and economical. They are a good source of folate, a key nutrient that helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy by keeping homocysteine levels in check. If you are looking to increase your fiber and protein intake, beans are great option.
Beans can also be a great passport to explore all sorts of other cuisines. Consider lentils for Indian-inspired cooking, black beans for South American-inspired cuisine, black eyed peas and greens for some southern-style dishes, hummus or chick pea dishes from the Middle East, or cannelinni beans for Italian and French cooking.
Use rinsed, canned beans as a fast and simple start to lean and green recipes, such as my one Minute Artichoke and White Bean Hummus recipe.
5) What: DIY Seltzer
Cutting bottled water from your diet is one of the fastest, easiest, and most powerful ways to trim your carbon footprint while saving you some "green" too. Consider that last year alone Americans poured nearly $11 billion into buying 8 billion gallons of bottled water and then tossed over 22 billion empty plastic bottles in the trash.
DIY Seltzer is a fantastic kitchen gadget for Earth Month because you can still enjoy drinks that inspire you and are tasty too.
Why for Boomers: As you age, your caloric needs are decreasing, so don't waste them on empty calories. In addition, research has shown that liquid calories don't register with our brain and appetite in the same way that food calories do, making it unlikely that you will compensate by eating less later on because of a high calorie liquid splurge.
DIY seltzer is economical, green, and gives you tons of options, so everyone in the family can flavor their water as they like and can be found at your area home goods-type store.
Some of my fave preparations include:
- Float sliced fresh strawberries from the farmers market and a sprig of basil
- Fill an ice cube tray with water and then add whole frozen berries. If you can afford the calories, a splash of 100% fruit juice like concord grape, blueberry or pomegranate will provide antioxidants while adding gorgeous color, too.
- Stir in fresh grated ginger, a mint sprig, and a squeeze of fresh tangerine, lemon or orange for zinc, vitamin C and digestive health.
- Sip like a spa: float cucumbers and lime wedges for a cleansing, refreshing change.
So what changes are you going to make to inspire a new green routine in your kitchen? I'd love to hear from you.
Kate Geagan is a paid spokesperson for EarthGrains brand. All health, nutrition, and environmental statements, as well as recipes, were developed by, and are the opinion of Kate Geagan.