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Proper Green: Portion Control the Green Way

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Losing weight seems to be a top resolution every new year! Proper Green offers advice on reducing your waist without packing on the waste.
Dear Proper Green,

My resolution this year (and every year that I can remember) is to lose weight. I'm thinking about purchasing one of those frozen diet meal plans that supply you with your food for the week or month. I need help with portion control, but how bad is it for the environment?

- Jayne K.

Dear Jayne,

Don't beat yourself up! Weight loss is at the top of most people's resolutions for the year, so you're not alone.

But, let's talk pre-packaged meal plans. They work for some people and if you're willing to look beyond some of the issues and your doctor is on board with your diet plan, by all means do what's best for you. But, I'm not a big fan of them and here's why:

  • Not all companies that offer these delivery meal plans package their food in 100% recyclable material, potentially leaving a lot of monthly waste.
  • The ingredients in these delivery meal plans aren't always natural or organic, many times they'll have preservatives to extend shelf life for those non-perishable foods.
  • The taste – this is definitely subjective, but the most positive descriptors I've heard from friends on these plans has been "edible" or "not bad". For me that's a deal breaker. I want to enjoy my food even if I'm having a smaller portion.
  • It ain't cheap. While the basic level packages from some of these programs start in the low $300 range, people will often times supplement what they received with additional fruits and vegetables or wind up switching to premium packages with better/more food .

So, what is your alternative if the con list above is giving you second thoughts? Consider starting a pre-portioned meal plan of your own. Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Find healthy recipes you'll want to eat through a week and use great online (FREE) weekly meal plan tools to help you organize your grocery list and find you savings at check out, like Food on the Table.

Step 2: Pick a designated day to prep/cook meals for the week. If you live with a roommate, significant other, or family, get them to help out and make this a time to catch up with each other. If you live alone, crank up the radio and let out your inner chef. Cook all the meals you plan to consume in the week. Sure it's a lot of work, but you'll only really have to do dishes once a week ☺!

Step 3: Invest in quality reusable containers in a variety of sizes and keep an eye on portions. Portion out the recipes you've made into reusable containers with air tight seals and refrigerate or freeze depending on when you plan to eat each meal.

Step 4: Enjoy healthy meals that are pre-portioned by YOU. Spend the rest of the week reaping the rewards of your hard work. Enjoy delicious meals with ingredients you can pronounce that help you stick to your diet without making you feel like you're eating cardboard.

Let us know how it goes, whichever path you choose! Happy and healthy new year!

What tips do you have for dieting in an ecofriendly way? Share your tips below!
About Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and the environment are still evolving) to providing easy ways to make your every day more sustainable, Proper Green aims to help smooth the way with answers to questions that are important to you!

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to Please note: Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more