This Labor Day, think green and have an eco-correct cookout. How? It’s easy —
Visit your local farmer’s market for fresh local fruits and vegetables so abundant this time of year. A charcoal chimney is an easy way to start your grill and much safer than lighter fluid if you don’t have a gas grill. Make sure you use natural, hardwood charcoal instead of the conventional briquettes. Fill at least half your grill with produce. Produce is not only healthy and low calorie, but also doesn’t produce the carcinogens that can form on grilled meats. Always cook over a low-to-medium flame and avoid over-charring. Flare-ups and smoking oil create carcinogens. Marinating or basting with oil, honey or a barbeque sauce will provide a barrier and help prevent charring. Add delicious and nutritious vine ripened tomatoes and watermelon to your meal – they contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which may also help ward off sunburn! If possible, serve organic food.
I prefer reusable dinner plates and utensils, but if you are having a crowd it is easier to use disposable. Make sure they are biocompostable or made from recycled plastic. Preserve Products makes plates, utensils and storage containers that are made in the US from 100% BPA-free recycled plastic and are dishwasher safe. (They also make great toothbrushes and razors made from recycled yogurt cups.) Whole Foods carries the line, but you can also order them from PreserveProducts.com. Cloth napkins are a nice touch, but if you prefer disposable, you can easily find them made from recycled paper at most supermarkets.
Chemical free sunscreen and insect repellants are a much healthier alternative than conventional products. Badger makes effective, non-toxic, biodegradeable repellants and sunscreens.
Plan activities to get your guests moving and not eating and drinking so much. If your cookout is near the water, swimming and kayaking are fun. If not, set up a volleyball/badminton net and get the teens involved in a tournament. Croquet appeals to all ages and a nature walk or an outside scavenger hunt is a great way to get the kids interested in the outdoors.
And, of course don’t forget to recycle cans, bottles and other recyclable items!
Whatever you do to honor the end of summer, make sure you are good to the earth. Remember, what is good for the earth is good for you and what is good for you is good for the earth. Have fun!