Healthy Alternatives to Common Foods

23% of American adults eat fast food meals three or more times weekly. And even if they cook at home, chances are, they're not choosing the best ingredients.

While processed foods can be cheaper, they have negative long-term effects on our health. Spending a little extra on healthy eating can ensure you feel your best, so it's a worthwhile investment.

So it's about time that you look for alternatives to common foods. Keep reading for some excellent choices, so you can lead a happier and healthier life!

Processed Cereals

It's important to start off every day with a hearty breakfast. But many people reach for things like Frosted Flakes and Honey Nut Cheerios. They're full of sugar and don't have enough whole grains, which are essential for regulating cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

To start your day off right, you should opt for whole-grain oats, millet, or wheat berries.


Chips are easy to reach for when you hit that afternoon slump and need to refuel. Not to mention, they come in a wide variety of delicious flavors too.

However, this snack is deep-fried, making it high in empty calories. It also has a large amount of sodium, which can cause high blood pressure.

Instead of stocking up on chips, you should make oven-baked chickpeas. Not only can you control the amount of salt that goes in the snack, but you can also switch up the flavors to suit your palate.

You can also make a trail mix with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, peanuts, and cashews, as well as dried pieces of fruit for a little bit of natural sugar. These things will all help you get through the day.


Anyone with a sweet tooth will have a weakness for chocolate bars. But regular chocolate is high in sugar and saturated fat.

If you must have your chocolate, then swap milk for dark chocolate, which is healthier since it has significantly higher levels of antioxidants, as well as iron, zinc, and magnesium. You should also get high-quality raw and organic chocolate, which can help with heart health.


Pizza has the potential to be healthy, but storebought ones never are. Not only are they greasy, but the toppings are usually very salty and high in calories.

It's best to make your own pizza at home, where you can top it with wholesome ingredients like fresh mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, onions, and lean chicken. Use a whole-grain crust and low-fat cheeses too.

Switch From Common Foods to Healthier Alternatives

You may not realize it, but many common foods aren't fantastic for your health. But by learning and choosing alternative foods, you can switch to a healthy diet that's still tasty.

In fact, many of these foods can be more delicious than processed junk. So be proactive and put nutritious things on your grocery list. Your body will thank you.

If you're ready to make better food choices, then shop our selection now! We're a family-owned and operated business that specializes in organic ingredients and essentials.

The Best New Year’s Resolutions: Eating Healthy and Organic in 2023

The new year is just right around the corner. If you're wondering how to improve your life for the upcoming year, try switching to organic food. Organic food is prepared, produced, and processed without any chemicals. Because of this, organic food sales are growing—in fact, organic food sales reached over $57 billion last year.

There are many reasons to kick fertilizers, pesticides, and preservatives out of your diet. But many people are still unsure about the benefits of eating natural food. Here's why eating organic, healthy food is one of the best New Year's resolutions and is the most beneficial way to improve your diet.


The chemicals found in produce react with natural antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants are natural substances that prevent cell damage, reducing the risk of many diseases. When you choose organic food, you consume more vitamins and antioxidants, boosting your overall health.

Healthier Heart

If you're showing signs of heart disease, your doctor may have recommended you stay away from animal products like meat and dairy. That's because many forms of meat and dairy are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, especially when the animals are fed a predominantly grain-based diet instead of grass-fed. 

Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to reduce your heart disease risk. The secret lies in eating the right type of fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in chia seeds. hemp seeds and flax seeds. Many plant foods contain high levels of antioxidants, such as berries, dark leafy greens,  and raw cacao - these antioxidants help protect the cardiovascular system and reduce free radical damage. 

Fewer Pesticides

Did you know non-organic fruit and vegetables are grown with pesticides? Conventional farmers use pesticides because they keep pests away from crops. However, they also contain dangerous chemicals, such as organophosphorus.

Pesticides in food are linked to numerous diseases, such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and different types of cancer. Organic food isn't grown with pesticides, and farmers use safer methods to keep pests away. These include releasing beneficial bugs, pheromone traps, and other organically-approved techniques.

Stronger Immune System

The modern food industry expedites produce and meat to feed the growing human population. This results in more meat, grains, and bigger fruits and vegetables. While growth hormones and GMOs have solved some of the world's food insecurity problems, these foods aren't healthy. GMOs can pose some risks, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Toxicity
  • Immuno-suppression
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Nutrition loss
  • Cancer

There's a reason why eating organic is one of the best healthy New Year's resolutions—you can avoid these problems by switching up your diet. Organic produce also has higher vitamin and mineral content, strengthening your immune system even more.

Taste Better

Last but not least, organic food tastes better. Organic food takes longer to grow, so the sugar and mineral structures mature. This leads to tastier produce. You'll not only want to eat your fruits and vegetables, but your kids will also be excited to snack on organic food such as nut butter.

Eating Organic Is One of the Best New Year's Resolutions

Now that you know eating organic is one of the best New Year's resolutions, you're probably wondering where you can get organic food. We sell numerous organic products, such as probiotic/prebiotic powders and kid's snacks. Shop our organic food today!

5 Ways to Support Gut Health

Research shows that between 60 million and 70 million Americans suffer from some type of digestive disease. From heartburn and gas to bloating and constipation, these conditions can interfere with everyday life and lead to some pretty uncomfortable symptoms.

When you invest in foods and activities that provide healthy gut support, you'll notice the difference throughout your entire body. Today, we're sharing five simple ways you can get started. 

1. Increase Your Fiber Intake

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), women should consume around 25 grams of fiber each day, and men should consume 38 grams. However, only 5% of all U.S. adults meet these daily targets. 

By eating a balanced diet full of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, you can hit this goal and improve your gut health. Fiber promotes a healthy gut biome and also helps naturally relieve constipation. Beans, berries, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are all high in this nutrient. 

2. Add Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Fermented foods help add good, health-promoting bacteria (probiotics) to your gut. These are foods that have undergone a fermentation process and controlled microbial growth. Examples include:

  • Yogurt
  • Keifer
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Probiotic drinks and kombucha

If you aren't already consuming fermented foods, consider adding them a few times a week to notice a difference in your intestinal health. You can also check out our probiotic supplements for extra support!

3. Exercise More

If you're experiencing frequent tummy troubles, inactivity could be one of the culprits.

Exercise not only helps stretch and loosen your stomach muscles, but it can also help you maintain your weight and help keep digestive issues at bay. You don't have to overdo it, but at least 30 minutes of light activity each day can make a major difference. 

4. Relieve Stress

Yes, this one is usually easier to say than do! Still, it's worth finding activities that naturally soothe away your stress and anxiety. When you're feeling stretched too thin, it can make your gut barrier more permeable.

This is known as "leaky gut syndrome" and it catalyzes an inflammatory response in your stomach lining. Inflammation can also inhibit your ability to empty your stomach, which can lead to painful constipation. From taking a walk in nature to soaking in a bath, there are lots of ways to minimize your stress levels.

5. Reduce High-Fat Foods

Your gut is happiest when you're consuming a diet that's well-balanced in micronutrients. This includes a moderate amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

If you're used to over-indulging in high-fat/low-carb foods, it can decrease the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. Probiotics need fuel to grow, and fiber comes from carb-containing foods, so you need to maintain steady levels to see results. 

One option is to consider the Mediterranean diet, which provides a good nutritional balance. With this diet, 45% to 50% of your calories come from carbs, 30% to 35% come from fat, and 15% to 20% come from protein. 

Promote Healthy Gut Support

Gut support optimizes your entire body. As you take the time to adjust your diet, enhance your exercise routine, and relieve stress, you'll find that your stomach troubles will become much less frequent. 

These are five simple ways to start, and we want to help you work toward your goals. 

At Windy City Organics, we offer a range of organic snacks, supplements, powders, and more. We're your one-stop shop when you need to satisfy a craving in the healthiest way possible. Check out our products today and let us know if you have any questions!

3 Wellness Tips to Keep You Healthy This Fall

The weather is cooling down, and many of us are ready to dive into fall. And while the season is beautiful, all the holidays can cause some stress. From figuring out kids’ Halloween costumes and cleaning for Thanksgiving to buying Christmas gifts, you may be feeling your blood pressure going up.

Practicing fall wellness can be a great way to care for yourself and your family this holiday season. Read on to discover some of our top fall wellness tips so you can enjoy all the beauty of this amazing season.

1. Wash Your Hands

While fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, it’s also the time when germs run rampant. Everything from the flu to the common cold to COVID-19 ramps up this time of year. One of the best way to keep your family well this fall season is to make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. You can sing “Happy Birthday” twice in a row or the opening lines of “All-Star” by Smash Mouth to time this out. Don’t forget to scrub on the back of your hands and in between your fingers.

2. Get Fresh Air

There are few things more glorious than the weather during the fall. The air is crisp, the leaves are glorious, and every hour feels like golden hour. One of the best fun fall activities is to go spend some time in the glory that nature has to offer during this season.

Spending time in the sun can help to improve your vitamin D levels, alleviate depression, and boost your anxiety. And walking for half an hour five days a week can help you to lose weight if that’s your goal and help you stay healthy. Take advantage of the gorgeous weather this fall and go for a walk a few times a week.

3. Cook Nutritious Meals

Fall is also one of the best times of the year for fresh produce. During the early fall, you can still catch the ends of tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers. And once the weather starts cooling down, you get the winter squash, root vegetables, greens, and, of course, apples, pumpkins, and other fall fruits.

Take advantage of that gorgeous fresh produce to make nutritious meals for yourself and your family. Squash bisques, risottos, casseroles, and stews are fantastic options, and you can make excellent veggie side dishes for meaty mains. And, of course, baked apples and poached pears always make stunning additions to your fall diet plan.

Focus on Fall Wellness

Focusing on personal wellness can help you feel your best and give you the resources you need to have a great fall. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often, and spend plenty of time enjoying the gorgeous weather. Take advantage of the wonderful produce this time of year to cook delicious meals for yourself and your family.

If you’d like to learn how to focus on fall wellness, check out the rest of our site at Windy City Organics. We even offer decadent treats like raw chocolate bars that will help you stay satisfied while sticking with a healthy lifestyle. We even have all the raw cacao ingredients that you need to create your own chocolate magic right at home, from cacao nibs, powder, butter, paste, and more. Shop our brands today and discover the organic goodness you need to make your fall better than ever.

The Perfect Almond Flour Banana Bread (Grain-Free + Paleo)

Paleo Almond Flour Banana Bread

This banana bread is perfect - moist and melt-in-the-mouth, low in sugar (only 2 tablespoons of added maple syrup), and makes for a delicious breakfast, snack, or even healthy dessert. It's also made with almond flour so is entirely paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and grain-free. You can make it with pastured eggs or go vegan and make a flax egg mixture (1 tbs of ground flax + 3-4 tbs of water = 1 flax "egg").

Get ready for your kitchen to be filled with the sweet aroma of freshly baked banana bread - is there anything better??

Serve with almond butter or coconut yogurt and some fresh berries from the farmer's market for a delightful, summer-friendly treat.

Paleo Almond Flour Banana Bread

The Recipe

Paleo Almond Flour Banana Bread

Yields 1 loaf

Dry ingredients

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt

Wet ingredients

3 very ripe, spotty bananas
2 pasture-raised eggs or flax eggs (if using flax eggs you may need to add a splash of extra water as flax absorbs liquids, unlike eggs)
1/4 cup melted Dastony stone ground coconut butter
2 Tbs maple syrup


1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease your bread loaf pan with a little coconut oil, or line with parchment paper.

2. Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine in a large bowl.

3. Pour mixture into your prepped loaf pan and pop it in the oven for 50 minutes. The top should be starting to lightly brown and a toothpick should come out clean when stuck through the center.

Be sure to let it sit for at least an hour to cool before slicing. It will carry over cook and needs time to fully set or it will be too soft to slice.

Get Your Dose of Gut Friendly Flora with this Lemony Cashew Probiotic Yogurt

This “yogurt” isn’t cultured like a typical yogurt at the store but has plenty of probiotics in it thanks to our Sunbiotics vanilla probiotic and prebiotic powder. If you’re looking for a delicious way to sneak in some extra love for your gut, this creamy and lemony plant-based yogurt is a great option that doesn't require any special kitchen equipment aside from a blender. Serve with fresh berries for a yummy breakfast or snack, or layer with granola + fruit for a parfait. 

Sunbiotics probiotic formulas are certified organic, food-based, and contain the top strains of beneficial flora to help support digestion and overall gut health. Unlike many probiotic formulas on the market, they are free of all additives and common allergens like wheat, soy, dairy, and corn. They are shelf-stable and activated in the GI tract once ingested - which means they're also travel friendly (no refrigeration required).

Try our probiotics for adults in powder form and chewable tablets, or if you’re looking for a great option for kiddos try our Just4Kids bountiful berry powder.  

Lemony Cashew Probiotic Yogurt

The Recipe 

Raw Lemony Cashew Probiotic Yogurt

Makes roughly 3 cups


2 cups raw cashews, soaked

1/3 cup Dastony stone ground raw coconut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Juice from 1 large lemon

1 cup purified water

5 drops therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil** (or use the zest from your lemon as long as it's organic)

2 Tbs raw organic honey or maple syrup

1 tsp Sunbiotics vanilla probiotic powder

Big pinch Himalayan salt

1. Soak raw cashews for at least 4 hours to soften them(overnight also works). 
2. Blend all ingredients until smooth. If your coconut butter is very solid you can melt it using a double boiler method before adding it to your blender. 
Note: A high-speed blender will work the best to achieve the smoothest texture.   
The recipe will store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.  

**Make sure you are using a therapeutic grade lemon essential oil like Young Living - not all essential oil can be ingested. 

Try This Tasty Orange Tahini Miso Dressing on Your Next Salad

Orange Miso Tahini Dressing

Say you're going to a desert island and can only take one salad dressing. Balsamic? Herb vinegarette? It's a tough choice, but in the end, we hope you choose a tahini-based dressing! Why? Because they're so easy, pair well with so many options, and always seem to hit the spot. And this Orange Tahini Miso dressing recipe is exactly all of those things - especially if you like to dress your veggies with that perfect flavor harmony of salty-sweet, creamy, gingery, and citrusy. This dressing has it all! 

Made with a base of ultra-creamy Dastony stone-ground raw sesame tahini, it can even be made without a blender thanks to the silky-smooth nature of stone-ground seed butter. That being said, blending is quicker and will lend an even smoother and more emulsified effect. 
Avoiding soy? Try using chickpea miso instead of a classic soy-based option - this can be found in most health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts near the tofu section. Look for unpasteurized miso as this will contain beneficial bacteria that help boost the gut.  
This would make the perfect dressing for a simple green salad like the one below, or perhaps an Asian-inspired salad with finely chopped kale, cabbage, green onions, julienned red bell pepper, and some peanuts or cashews for crunch. 
Orange Miso Tahini Dressing

The Recipe 

Orange Tahini Miso Dressing
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed OJ (try Valencia oranges - they're very juicy)

1.5 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup filtered water

2 tsp soy or chickpea miso

1/2” slice of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp maple syrup

1/4-1/2 tsp salt - to taste
1. Blend until smooth and serve with your next fresh salad. 

Boost Your Gut Health with this No-Bake Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake

No Bake Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake
Probiotic-rich foods are one of the most important things we can consume. After all, the gut is home to around 70-80% of our body's immune system in the form of an army of friendly microflora – there are trillions of beneficial bacteria living in a healthy gut. The benefits of consuming probiotics reach far and wide - they promote more complete digestion, help eliminate indigestion and stomach bloat, and keep unhealthy bacteria in check so we're less likely to fall ill, to name just a few. 

And if you're looking for a dessert that's friendly on digestion this is it - a dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nutrient-rich cheesecake that contains a generous amount of gut-friendly probiotics from cultured coconut yogurt and Sunbiotics organic probiotics to help replenish the digestive system. It also contains healthy fats from whole coconut butter to stabilize blood sugar, and contains very minimal sugar in general - there's just a little over ¼ cup maple syrup and seven dates in the entire cake.  The texture is decadent (so silky and rich!), the flavors are refreshing (lemon! Berries!), and eating a slice (okay, maybe two slices...) won't weigh you down or get in the way of your sunny springtime adventures. 

We hope you end up sharing your own cheesecake masterpiece with friends and loved ones this spring!

The Recipe

No-Bake Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake

Makes 1, 6” x 2-3/4” springform pan

Filling Ingredients

1.5 cups cashew nuts, soaked
1 cup unsweetened Natural COYO

1/2 cup melted Dastony Stone Ground Coconut Butter (not coconut oil, use whole coconut butter)

1/4 cup + 1 Tbs real maple syrup

1 inch of vanilla bean – the whole pod*

Juice of 1 lemon – about 1/4 cup

3 drops therapeutic grade lemon essential oil ** (or use the zest from one organic lemon)

½ cup fresh raspberries

Crust Ingredients

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup blanched almond flour

7 medjool dates

1 tbsp of coconut oil, melted

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt
Topping (optional but a nice touch) - Rawmio Raw Chocolate Hearts

*if you do not own a high-speed blender, scrape the vanilla beans from the pod as the pod itself may be a
a bit too tough for the blender to break down fully.

**use therapeutic grade, organically produced lemon oil ONLY. Not all EO is of the same caliber, and
most are not safe to ingest.



1. In a blender or food processor, pulse ingredients together until they break down and bind together. You'll
want to be able to take a spoonful, squish it together, and have it hold its shape. Make sure all of
the dates are broken down as they are what help bind the crust.

2. Scoop crust into the bottom of a springform pan, and press evenly along the bottom only.


1. Soak cashews for at least 4-6 hours to soften. They can also be soaked overnight to prep for the next
day. Drain and rinse thoroughly after soaking.

2. Combine all ingredients except lemon oil and coconut butter in a blender carafe (preferably high speed
like Vitamix or Blendtec) and blend on a medium-high setting until very smooth – about 30 seconds.

3. Add gently melted coconut butter and lemon oil and blend again. The reasoning for adding these last is
the heat generated from blending may alter the flavor of these two ingredients. Adding the coconut butter
last also helps give the filling a more fluffy consistency.


1. Pour filling over crust in a springform pan

2. Take fresh raspberries and place them on top of the filling, then with clean fingers or a utensil carefully push
them down into the filling so that they are completely submerged.

3. Place cake in the fridge to set for at least 1 hour. Store leftovers in the fridge. Cheesecake may also be
frozen but should be left to unthaw before serving for best flavor and consistency

Seasonal Allergies Got You Down? Why Gut Health is Key!

Spring Allergies and Gut Health
Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels
It’s that time of year when the seasons are changing and spring is in the air...literally! There are things like pollen, grass, trees, and weeds that all contribute to seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are a common struggle for many. I, too, can relate because I also used to experience the frustrating effects of pollen! But now, I no longer have seasonal allergies AT ALL! You may be wondering, “how is this possible?”
I’ll start by saying that the elimination of my allergy symptoms did not come from taking a pill or any sort of medication. In fact, when I had bad allergies, I used to take Zyrtec D daily, yet I would still experience allergy symptoms! It was when I stopped taking the pills and started making lifestyle changes, like my diet, that I noticed the change. As a holistic nutritionist, I believe in taking a holistic approach to health and getting to the root of the problem versus just focusing on symptoms. I believe that allergies are simply a symptom of the body being out of balance.
Our immune system plays a key role in fighting off these allergy symptoms. About 70% of our immune system is housed in the gut, so if our gut is out of balance, so is our immune system, thus causing these symptoms from seasonal allergies. A lack of diversity in the gut microbiome is also associated with allergies. Incorporating pre and probiotic foods in your diet, along with taking probiotics, can help with this.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend eating a plant-focused diet. Plant foods will provide loads of nutrients to your body and will help tremendously with allergies. By eating more plants, you are helping support your immune function by creating a healthy environment that helps regulate your inflammatory response. This will help naturally fight off allergy symptoms. Below are some foods and supplements I suggest incorporating into your diet regularly to help boost your immune system. These will help reduce and can even eliminate those nasty seasonal allergy symptoms!
● Omega 3 rich foods: wild salmon, chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, walnuts
● Antioxidant-rich foods: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (try to pick organic berries as conventional berries tend to contain an unhealthy dose of pesticides)
● Vitamin D: Getting outside in the sun is great, but since most of us typically don’t get enough Vitamin D, incorporating a D3 supplement is also beneficial.
● Nutritional yeast: It’s been shown to boost the immune system and contains numerous nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, protein, zinc and more. It typically comes in flakes, granules, or powder-like form and can be added to anything. Pasta is my favorite food to add it to, but I also add it to eggs, salads, etc., really anything I want a cheesy flavor on. You can find this at most health food stores or online/Amazon.

● Local Honey/Bee Pollen: Eating local honey or bee pollen can help prevent allergies, this is because you are ingesting the local pollen so it helps your body acclimate to the environment, and over time you become less sensitive to the pollen.
● Spirulina: It is a blue-green algae that naturally detoxifies the body, supports immune function, and acts as a histamine blocker. You can add spirulina to your smoothies and can buy it at most health food stores or online/Amazon.
● Probiotics: These help to balance the gut microbiome with good bacteria. Daily stressors, both environmental and internal, as well as the use and abuse of antibiotics, disrupt the balance of bacteria in the digestive system. Check out SunBiotics probiotic supplements and probiotic almonds here. I suggest the cheesy almonds because they contain nutritional yeast too!

Remember spring IS in the air, so don’t let those pesky allergies get in your way! Take charge of your health and get on with celebrating this season of warmer weather and new growth!

About the Author

Jenna Johnson

Jenna Johnson is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and founder and creator of The Scrounge, a lifestyle brand that began with her love of food and ‘making more with less’ in her home kitchen. Through working with clients 1-on-1, social media content, virtual cooking classes, workshops, and events, Jenna is shifting people’s mindset of healthy cooking to an approachable style called “Scrounging” – using the food you already have at home to create a meal. Jenna is passionate about taking the complication out of cooking and eating healthy. She believes food is medicine and that nutrition and home cooking shouldn’t be stressful, but rather a fun and positive experience. Jenna’s “scrounging” style of cooking has expanded from kitchens of friends, family, and colleagues to hundreds of people around the world. She encourages everyone to get creative with what they have at home and not to be afraid of not having all of the ingredients listed in a recipe. Jenna’s passion for healthy cooking and helping others led her to pursue a career in nutrition. Now, as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist specializing in gut health, she focuses on helping women eliminate chronic stomach issues without medication. Jenna’s own experience with gut issues led her to help others with these same struggles. Jenna’s goal is to help others get their life back and live life to the fullest without the stress and anxiety of stomach pain.

Minimize Waste! The 7 Waste-Reducing Tips You Need to Try

7 Waste Reducing Tips You Need to Try

Photo by Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash

From reusable water bottles to bringing your own grocery bags, some zero waste tips are common practice. Those of you that have been making an effort to minimize waste for a while may be craving more creative solutions. In that case, these fresh waste-reducing tips are for you. New to minimizing waste? Don’t worry. These tips can work for everyone!

Plant Decor

The next time you are looking for décor to spruce up your home or for a low waste gift idea, go green with a plant. Plants reduce stress and purify the air, all while helping you minimize your waste output since they won’t go to the landfill like most decor eventually does. If you find you and your plant really aren’t vibing, they can be planted outside (climate zone dependent), regifted, sold, or composted as a last resort.

Say No

Sometimes saving the environment is as simple as saying “No, thank you.” And one easy way to do this is to skip the promotional items the next time they are offered to you. These items tend to get very little use, break easily, and inevitably end up in the landfill. If you already have a drawer overflowing with these types of items, see if you can find a place to donate them. Many community art programs are more than happy to receive extra pens, notepads, highlighters, erasers, etc.—even if they have some branding on them.

Homemade Snacks

When the mid-day munchies hit, you may find yourself reaching for a snack. However, many of these quick snacks come with more than an energy boost—they also have unnecessary wrapping. Luckily, you can easily avoid the wrappers by making your own snacks. As a bonus, homemade snacks like granola bars and cookies tend to be healthier than their store-bought counterparts. Try shopping for ingredients in bulk with your own refillable containers to reduce as much waste as possible. Buy things like nut butters in glass jars and reuse the jars for storing personal care items or office supplies. Have a snack recipe that calls for fruit? Check out the produce that is marked down because it is close to spoiling. You won’t have to wait for the fruit to ripen and you’ll save some money, all while helping to reduce food waste.

Food Scraps

Composting is an excellent way to reduce the waste you produce, but you may want to try reusing those food scraps before you reach for the compost bin. Reusing food scraps helps you get the most out of food before tossing it and can also be a great way to get kids interested in reducing waste. You may want to try orange peels dipped in dark chocolate. They pair great with apple tea brewed from boiling apple peels and cores. Want to do something with scraps beyond snacks? Use a banana peel to polish plant leaves or soak a few peels in water for a couple of days to make natural plant fertilizer.


If you find yourself needing a tool for a project or that pregnancy has you outgrowing your clothes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a shopping trip. Instead, you may want to try renting these items. For example, many home hardware stores offer tool rentals by the day or hour, so you can skip the wasteful packaging and avoid buying something you will minimally use. Then there are several online clothing rental places that offer maternity clothes so you don’t have to buy a temporary wardrobe. Once the baby is born, you may want to continue the renting trend by subscribing to a toy lending library instead of buying new.

Speak Up

Sometimes you can minimize waste by making a simple request, so don’t be afraid to speak up. This may mean asking the cashier if a receipt needs to be printed, requesting a shipped order to have minimal packaging material, telling the waiter you don’t need a straw with your drink, etc. If you see that your favorite restaurant has a specific wasteful habit (ex. using plastic stir sticks), you may want to write an email offering a less wasteful solution (compostable wooden stir sticks). Just be sure to keep your tone friendly. Remember, the worst they can say is that they can’t make that change. On the other hand, your email may push them toward a less wasteful solution.

Party Supplies

An eco-friendly party can still be fun and memorable—perhaps even more so! The next time a birthday or wedding rolls around, skip any wasteful decor like balloons and streamers and take a less wasteful approach. This could look like making a centerpiece by decorating an existing plant you own with lights or foraging for greenery to put in a vase. Planning a meal? Skip the plastic cups and plates and go with real dishware. If you don’t have enough, see if you can borrow some from friends or rent some from a party supply store. Another option is to grab dishware and utensils at a secondhand store and re-donate them when the event is over.


Sometimes the best waste-reducing solutions are a bit offbeat, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when looking to minimalize your impact. Reducing waste is a slow process, and we need every little bit of creativity to push us toward a less wasteful future.

Author Bio

Shannon Bergstrom is a LEED Green Associate, TRUE waste advisor. She currently works at RTS, a tech-driven waste and recycling management company, as a sustainability operations manager. Shannon consults with clients across industries on sustainable waste practices and writes for Zero Waste.