3 Ways To Do Good During Dinner

Even the busiest family has to eat now and then. Dining together is not only a wonderful way to connect amid the torrid pace of modern life, it is a great opportunity to put some of your family's green-living goals into action.

Here are three exceedingly simple steps that you could start this week.

  1. Buy Better Beef: Check out this New York Times article about grass-fed beef. Long story short, grass fed beef is nutritious, humane, and environmentally-friendly. My family has been committed to buying grass-fed, locally-raised beef for a few years. It's a simple way to feel good about your dinner choices. If you live in the Twin Cities, consider the Grass Fed Cattle Company. They make buying better beef easy. If you aren't in the area, check out Eat Wild to find a vendor near you. Once you've found a place that works for you, making a responsible meat selection becomes automatic. It's one less thing to think about.
  2. Help your kids take notice: Reflecting on the food chain can be tough with kids. At 4, Little Miss still differentiates between our "real chickens" (the five that live in our backyard coop) and the "other chicken that we eat." Big Sis, though, struggled with our Thanksgiving conversation about the free-range turkey we picked up at the farmer's market. Here is a great video from Brain Pop about the food chain that helps put it all into perspective. At almost seven, she frequently declares herself a vegetarian only to demand hamburgers the next day. Knowing that her beef comes from local, humanely raised cattle seems to make her feel somewhat better about her burger cravings.
  3. Vegetarian Variety: Because buying better meat products is, in fact, substantially more expensive than basic grocery store prices, we commit a few days each week to a vegetarian menu. Folding more brown rice and beans into our diet not only offsets the cost of grass-fed beef, it increases our dining variety. If you are looking for kid-friendly vegetarian recipes, here are three weekday staples that I love and my kids actually enjoy eating (I usually make both soup recipes in the crock pot, so they're perfect for a busy schedule).