Six Steps to Sustainable Eating

1.    Start Small.  Changing everything all at once never works.  Instead, go through your refrigerator and pantry and weed out a few empty-calorie traps: foods you reach for when you’re rushed or bored, that don’t nourish your body.  Substitute fresh, seasonal foods.  Keep whole grain bread and cheese handy to grab instead of chips.  Add a salad every day, at lunch or dinner.  Try fruit at snack time.


2.    Go Local.  Visit or  Type in your zip code for a list of products grown and made in your community.  Choose from honey, cheese, grass-fed meat, and pasture-raised eggs to lettuces and herbs.


3.    Play the (Green) Market.  Visit your local farmer’s market.  Where there, talk to farmers and sample food that’s likely within 48 hours of picking.  Most farmers eat what they grow, so they’re a great source of tips for preparing, serving and storing the foods they sell.


4.    Branch Out.  Try a fruit or vegetable that you didn’t think you liked when it’s at its peak.  I’ve seen people converted to foods from asparagus to zucchini just by tasting them freshly picked and simply prepared.


5.    Learn the Story Behind Your Food.  When you connect with the men and women who grow what you eat, it tastes all the better.  Kids especially become more courageous when they know what went into the food they have for dinner.


6.    Plant a Garden—However Small.   Seeing the miracle of a seed turn into a delectable ingredient instills an appreciation for all it takes to grow great-quality food.  If you don’t have a green thumb, try a simple container garden: cultivate a few fresh herbs or cherry tomatoes in pots on your windowsill or patio.

Source:  From the Forthcoming Book: Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook by Laura Pensiero.  To be published on August 19th, 2009 by William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher.