Nutrition Articles

Vote with Your Fork

Create Change, One Bite at a Time

842SHARES

Election Day happens every day. You have the opportunity to cast your vote and change the world at almost every turn—or at the very least, every meal. What would you vote for if everything was on a ballot: Lower rates of obesity? Healthy food that's affordable? Humanely raised meat? How about healthy school lunch menus, more accountability in the food industry, pedestrian and bike-friendly cities, or more community vegetable gardens?

Here are 10 simple ways that you can "vote with your fork" every time you shop, eat, or dine out.

Vote for lower health care costs. Most of our country's health problems stem from lifestyle diseases that are preventable. So let's all do our part to prevent them and cut everyone's health care costs. Feed yourself (and your kids) fresh, home-cooked meals more often. Exercise regularly. And don't smoke.

Vote against disposable bags at the grocery store. Keep paper and plastic bags out of landfills by bringing your own shopping bags every time you shop.

Vote for healthy food choices at restaurants. When you do choose to eat fast food or dine out, choose the healthy options. This helps send a clear message that people want healthy meals, making it more likely that restaurants will keep these dishes on the menu—and add more like them.

Vote against unhealthy food choices. Have you ever noticed that chips, cookies, sweets and candy take up more space in the grocery store than healthy foods do? If you're tired of unhealthy foods tempting you at every turn, then turn them down yourself. Part of the reason these foods are so prevalent is that people do buy them. Send your message loud and clear by not supporting companies who don't seem to have the health of their consumers in mind.

Vote for locally grown produce. Your local farmers market offers seasonal food that's fresh, healthy, and eco-friendly. When you spend your food dollars at your local farmers market, you're voting for the farmer, his farming methods, the farmers market and your community. Buying local food casts a vote against conventionally grown produce that's imported or shipped thousands of miles to your supermarket even though it's already available close to home.

Vote against the inhumane treatment of animals. If it bothers you to think about the conditions where your meat, poultry, eggs and milk come from, then don't support it. Choose meatless meals more often, or spend your dollars on companies and local farmers who raise animals more humanely.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›
842SHARES

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • ETHELMERZ
    It has been proven time and time again, that organic foods are not nutritionally "better" than other produce you buy, especially if you are an average person and not the yuppies that go to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. And, no one ever mentions the fact that fresh produce just does not taste that good, PERIOD, and that is why we have years of nagging behind us, just admit that, for once. We eat a lot of produce because we have to, pure and simple, not because it tastes great, frankly, it's boring, I don't care what silly herbs or sauce you put on it. - 11/26/2014 1:22:43 PM
  • I agreed with a comment below that this is the best article I've ever read on Spark and I've been around a long time. I'm pleased at all the positive comments too although I have to disagree with the "anti-bottled water" post.

    Not everyone has access to a source of "pure" water during the day. I don't want to drink from the public water fountains that we have either at work or in other locations I visit during the day. Some are actually quite nasty.

    I always bring my bottle of filtered tap water from home to start with, but keep bottled water as a back-up for when that runs out.

    I always recycle and it's certainly better than a plastic bottle of soda or juice or an energy drink. - 9/20/2014 1:03:47 PM
  • Excellent article! The decisions are ours to make. Yep. A bag of apples may cost more than a bag of chips, but I bet that bag of apples lasts longer and makes more 'snacks' than those chips do! Everyone here is conscious of their health to some degree. Kudos to Coach Nicole for reminding us so succinctly how many times a day we have to make the healthier choice! - 9/20/2014 11:19:28 AM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    The majority of my kids friends parents don't cook. We have always eaten home cooked dinners at the table, apparently this is unusual. Many children just aren't exposed to healthy foods. It is sad. - 9/14/2014 12:25:07 PM
  • This article was an eye opener for sure. - 9/4/2014 1:27:35 PM
  • Since I've changed my "bad" eating habits I've noticed I spend less. I no longer by Chips, Cookies, Chocolate, Candy or processed foods. The money I saved is now going towards healthier choices like apples, oranges, organic poultry, lean meats and more vegetables. I am no longer craving the sugar and carbs and my grocery bill is lower and so is my scale. - 8/26/2014 10:39:47 AM
  • First, pre-packaged crappy snacks aren't that much cheaper when I buy a bag of Cheetos and proceed to eat almost the whole bag in a day. Several hearts of romaine lettuce probably cost as much but I certainly don't it eat all in one day. :)

    Second, I know this opinion is unpopular but I hate bottled water. "They" have convinced us we need to purchase "individually wrapped," water! Genius business idea but terrible for the environment. I cringe whenever I hear people talking about where bottled water is on sale - I'll tell you where you can find it even cheaper! Every day I pack my water bottle with ice, take it to work, and fill it up at the fountain for lunch.

    Okay, sheepishly stepping down from soapbox now... - 7/21/2014 3:41:45 PM
  • A really good article and it did some eye opening for me - Thanks - 12/18/2013 5:02:28 PM
  • I agree with SMUDDIE! Healthy foods aren't necessarily expensive. Processed convenience foods are expensive! I buy a lot of produce and find that it is a lot cheaper than junk food. If you buy basic ingredients and cook yourself, you will save a lot of money and end up with a healthier diet. If you don't know how to cook, please take a class or find a friend who can teach you or get a basic cookbook and start following some recipes. Cooking is a basic life skill that everyone should learn. It's not that hard, and it's a great way to use some creativity, too.
    - 3/11/2013 9:02:23 PM
  • A really GREAT article!!! - 11/6/2012 9:51:33 PM
  • DJDANCER
    I have always felt that how and where I spend money is a reflection of my values. This article really 'nails it' in describing how each of us makes choices that make our own lives and the lives of others richer or poorer, healthier or sicker. Conscious consumer decisions have impact but as Annie Leonard points out we have to do more than consume intelligently: we have to advocate and collaborate and educate to make our food chain and our environment and our communities more robust. - 11/6/2012 5:56:28 PM
  • Use this article at TOPS chapter meeting yesterday and we had a great discussion
    Every time you buy something from retail you do cast a vote for that product
    The reason junk sells is that people buy it
    One day at a time - 11/6/2012 10:08:35 AM
  • Possibly the best article I've read yet on Spark. Thank you so much. I'm going to bookmark, Tweet, Facebook, forward, and print this one. - 11/6/2012 8:56:12 AM
  • Possibly the best article I've read yet on Spark. Thank you so much. I'm going to bookmark, Tweet, Facebook, forward, and print this one. - 11/6/2012 8:56:12 AM
  • KATHIE_B
    There are lots of healthy & affordable foods available at the grocery store if people just (1) make a meal plan (2) commit to following their shopping list (3) cook from scratch or at least partially. Besides fresh produce, low-fat dairy products and lean fish/poultry/meat look for whole grains: brown rice, barley, etc, and legumes.

    The farmer's market and organic are great options if you can afford it. Produce in our small town's farmer's market is 2 to 3 times the cost of the same item at the grocery store. I do buy a few things every week to support the farmers but I can't afford to do all my shopping there. I know they are not getting rich. I do know the city is charging them a lot to be in the market & they have to pass that cost along to the consumer. - 11/6/2012 8:39:05 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by October 17! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.