Nutrition Articles

Vote with Your Fork

Create Change, One Bite at a Time

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Vote for organically-grown food. If you believe in the health, environmental or nutritional benefits of organic food, then dedicate a portion of your food dollars to supporting it. You'll be voting against pesticides, the companies who develop and produce them, the industrial agribusinesses who use them, the effects they have on people and the environment. Sure organic is more expensive, but that's partly because demand is high and supply is low. When you buy organic, you tell farmers and retailers that organic matters to you—and that can change the selection and prices in your favor.

Vote against eating on the run. When you buy ingredients and cook at home, you're telling restaurants and eat-on-the-run food manufacturers that you don't agree with their cooking methods, ingredients, or fast food philosophy. There are so many benefits to eating meals at home, from saving money to bonding with your family to eating healthier. Plus how much can you really enjoy the experience of drinking soup from a container that fits in your car's cup holder? Let's bring food back where it belongs—the kitchen table.

Vote for smaller portions. We often see big portions as a good value, but are they really? If you can't finish it, the food goes to waste. If you do finish it, you're eating more than you should (and likely paying for it with health problems and medical care later). Buy smaller portion sizes when they're available to tell restaurants and manufacturers what you really think about burritos as big as your head.

Vote against food waste. Fast food, convenience foods, bottled beverages and single-use cups generate a lot of waste. When possible, choose foods that use less packaging, and bring your own reusable containers for leftovers, coffee and water. You'll be helping the environment and cutting food costs by spending less on packaging.

If you get frustrated at the current food environment, do something about it. Every dollar you spend, every food choice you make, and every meal you eat is an opportunity to vote for what you believe in. We can't change the way our food environment is structured overnight, but we can make a difference three times a day by voting with our forks.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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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

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