Are you an ecotarian? According to Jackie Newgent, author of Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious Low-carbon Lifestyle (Wiley, 2009), an ecotarian is someone who eats foods based on environmental sustainability.  Now I try to buy organic foods whenever possible, and I know that eating lower on the food chain (veggies vs. meat) is better for the planet, and my family's health. But I never really thought before about all of the other ways I could feed my family more sustainably.  

In Big Green Cookbook (described as the Prius of cookbooks,) Newgent offers tons of plant-based recipes, categorized by season to make it easy to find awesome eco-recipes that utilize the freshest seasonal produce and ingredients. But it's not just your average vegetarian cookbook. Newgent introduces concepts like "hyperbaking" -- like hypermiling to save gas in your car, hyperbaking helps you save energy while cooking. And to keep everybody happy, there's also plenty of recipes for the meat eaters -- Grilled Chicken and Feta Wraps and Fruity Chicken on Fire are two family favorites.

Here are a few "eco-resolutions" from Jackie for eating your greens:

  • Go ecotarian at least one day a week. Try Meatless Mondays, for instance.
  • Plant three fresh herb plants. Do this outside or on a windowsill inside. Try basil, mint and rosemary. They’ll add fresh deliciousness to your green cuisine.
  • Unplug all small kitchen appliances. Resolve to keep them unplugged when not in use to avoid “phantom” energy drain. Or buy a smart strip if you prefer.
  • Keep meat petite. If you choose to eat meat, green-size it. Enjoy 3 ounces or less per day. Go organic when you can. And pound it with a kitchen mallet to make it look larger — and cook faster.

Photo: Little Green Pizza, by Jackie Newgent, RD