You don’t have to be farmers or foodies to eat healthy. More and more people are aware how good non-processed, fresh local produce tastes; to satisfy taste buds and preserve the environment, sustainably-raised food is the optimal choice. Issues surrounding sustainability are pretty much mainstream and we’ve reviewed many resources that focus on sustainable practices. We’re on the right track with the products we use. But because most Americans still eat more processed food than fresh, there is plenty of room for improvement.

Those of us who want to eat local during the wintry months face challenges. Our gardens are buttoned up for the season and food co-ops are stocking foreign fruits and vegetables. Here are some simple tips we’ve found to avoid “factory-farmed” food:

  • The Eat Well Guide is a quick and terrific way to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling. Add the widget to your smartphone for finding local, sustainable, and organic food wherever you go. Another fabulous resource for vegetarians is the Happy Cow. They include stores in your area, which is also helpful when shopping for holiday meals.
  • Do your own research and shop at your local whole food stores. If supermarkets are your only option, then learn to read labels and select as much as possible from the organic sections.
  • Eat at restaurants where they serve slow food. Most of us are fortunate to have many great local chefs and restaurants in our communities practicing sustainability, as well. Long before it became fashionable, the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and local food sourcing was recognized by James Beard, author-educator-culinary guru. Now, a new generation of chefs champion sustainable food production and the local food movement. When gifting this Christmas, a James Beard Foundation membership is the perfect gift for the foodie in your life

Ironically, while most of us worry about overeating and gaining weight – especially over the holiday season – other communities around the world go hungry. Think about gifting sustainability through Heifer International. Initiatives like America’s Grow a Row that grow food to donate to food pantries is another great gift idea. Everyone deserves good, healthy, fresh food. Whittle down your gift list by donating to your local food bank in someone’s name.

In upcoming blogs, we’ll discuss more ways to eat sustainably and stay healthy over the Christmas holiday.