It’s not hard to believe that diet is one of the major contributors to an individual’s ecological footprint. There are plenty of factors that make an impact, like the amount of fuel that is burned to deliver fresh, exotic produce. Deciding to go green in what you eat can begin by simply increasing the amount of local, plant-based foods in your diet, as fruits and vegetables are generally lower-impact items when compared to animal-derived food items. However, not all fruits and veggies are equal in their eco-impact. The amount of pesticides, fertilizer, water and even energy to store produce should be factored in when determining just how green an item is . Taking these factors into account, try these 10 green fruits and vegetables:
Any tears shed over these little gems should be of joy. Onions are practically pesticide-free, can be grown in almost any climate and need very little water to develop. As an added-energy-efficient bonus, they don’t require refrigeration to be stored.
Full of healthy fats and technically a fruit, avocados are another item that are grown almost completely pesticide-free, whether or not they are organic.
With low amounts of pesticides per acre of crop and moderate-to-low water consumption, corn is a front runner in the eco-friendly list.
Apples have low requirements for nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers per acre of cultivation and a low water footprint with just 83 gallons of water consumed per pound of food.
Pears are another yummy, low-water option. Similar to apples in consumption amounts and fertilizer usage, they are an often popular choice for local farmers.
Depending on where you live, it may be more difficult to locate locally grown citrus. However, oranges are another green fruit that require small amounts of fertilizer, mid-amounts of pesticides (for non-organic) and little amounts of water for cultivation – just 55 gallons per pound of fruit.
Consisting of over 90% water, would you believe that lettuce needs only a small amount of water to grow? By using only 15 gallons of water per pound of food, eating more salads may decrease your dress size and carbon footprint.
Much like onions, potatoes can be found in fields across the globe because a farmer can yield a hearty and healthy crop without much care. With a low water footprint and without need for refrigeration to stay fresh, potatoes are a top green option.
A favorite of many home gardeners, peas do not require much fertilizer to grow and offer versatility in the kitchen.
Low-cal and a great source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber. Cabbage is also relatively easy to grow and requires very little water.
When it comes to choosing green foods, the best approach is less is more. Items that require the least amount of water and overall care will save the most in terms of impact.