As an individual, doing anything meaningful to help the environment can seem daunting. However, making an effort to follow one or more of the “green” grocery shopping practices described in this article gives you an easy way to help the environment. As added bonus, most of these changes can help you improve your own health as well.

Buy or Make Some Reusable Fabric Grocery Bags

The first item to put on your healthy, green grocery shopping list should be reusable fabric grocery bags. Many grocery stores stock these bags already with a retail price usually around $15 apiece. Another, much less expensive option is to make your own reusable fabric grocery bags. What difference does it make to switch to reusable fabric bags? Visit Reuse This Bag to learn the gory details about pollution from plastic grocery bags.

Add Organic and/or Natural Whole Foods to the Grocery List

While organic and/or natural foods may cost a little (or sometimes a lot) more than their conventionally grown counterparts, both your body and the environment will thank you for your choice. Why? For one, because certified organic foods are more sustainably grown, without the use of harsh chemicals and other environmentally harmful practices. And choosing organic allows you to avoid putting those chemicals into your body, too. Organic foods have many additional health benefits.

Another aspect of the healthy grocery shopping list to consider is that purchasing foods in their more whole, less-processed form tends to be better for both your own health as well as for the environment. Time and again, whole foods have proven to be healthier options than the more prevalent, highly processed and refined options. Whole foods help the environment because less energy and waste (fuel, packaging, and so forth) is involved in their production.

One other thing to consider when shopping for organic and/or natural, whole foods is that some companies may practice relatively or even entirely organic farming techniques, but not be “certified organic.” They may choose to forgo certification due to its expense, instead focusing their efforts on self-regulation, which can have even higher standards than official organic certification. It’s important for concerned consumers to do the research on individual companies to discover the truth.

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Shop for Locally Grown Food Whenever Possible

One of the best ways to help the environment is to shop for locally grown food. Local Harvest lists farmers markets’, natural grocers, and stores that sell organic food online, allowing you to find the locations offering such services closest to you (in the United States). By shopping locally, you reduce the amount of fuel burned to bring your food to you—and you nourish your body with fresher, often organic, whole foods, too.

A Healthy Grocery List Helps You and the Environment, Too

By employing the green grocery shopping practices described above, you can both help the environment and improve your own health as an individual. Changes such as using reusable grocery bags, purchasing organic and/or natural whole foods, and shopping for locally grown food whenever possible are easily implemented and can make a huge difference. For better health both personally and globally, consider adding these environmentally sound shopping ideas to your next grocery shopping list.