We all want a happy planet, right? Earth Day is coming up on April 22 and we all want to help make our planet a healthier, better place. The problem is the business of life and work and chores and family gets in the way of good intentions turning into concrete actions.

The good news is: we can do our part and it doesn’t have to be a huge burden. Here are five easy-but-effective things you can do right now to make a positive difference this Earth Day.

Call it your Pro Planet Plan.

1. Avoid processed, highly packaged foods.

The chemicals and industrial processing used to make these products are nasty, and the packaging clogs up our planet’s landfills and harms wildlife. Everyone craves some Doritos and the like from time to time, and that’s OK. The point is: cut down on the amount as much as you can.

2. Instead, eat whole foods—the kind grandma would’ve recognized.

That means bypassing the Frosted Flakes and frozen dinners and reaching for the pork chops, apples, and Little Potatoes. Grains, fresh fruit, and veggies, including Creamers, contain complex carbohydrates. That means they are filled with fiber and can not only stave off cravings making us feel nicely sated but also help us maintain a healthy weight, potentially lowering the risk of chronic disease and preventing colon cancer as well.-1 Add a side of Little Potatoes to any dish—they’re convenient and healthy, and also a good source of iron and potassium.

3. Here’s a super simple one: Swap out those old light bulbs.

Today’s modern eco-friendly lighting can save 80% on energy use and last years longer than the old choices; namely, incandescent and halogen. An LED, for example, will go 50 times longer than incandescent—that’s 11-plus years longer. Choose preferably long-life LEDs (light emitting diodes), but even CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are considerably better than traditional bulbs.

4. Invest in a few sturdy canvas shopping bags.

Then stash them in the trunk and bring those to the grocery store. At least 100,000 marine animals—whales, turtles, seals, seabirds—die each year from ingesting discarded plastic bags, as well as countless other birds and wildlife that can eat them or become hopelessly entangled. Animals Australia says there are nearly 50,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of the ocean across the entire world! That’s sobering. But combatting it is easy: just bring your own. Problem solved.

5. Go reusable.

In general, try to reduce your waste. Buy attractive, sturdy (BPA-free) water bottles and use those instead of disposable H20 containers. If you eat out at the office a lot, pick up some nice reusable chopsticks and utensils—and tote those with you for everyday use. There are plenty of groovy, lightweight options to choose from nowadays. An estimated 40 million plastic forks, knives, and spoons end up in landfill every year. And on the pro side: this one’s a cinch to fix.

Make your own (no-stress) Pro Planet Plan and set a shining example for your co-workers, friends, and family. You’ll feel good about doing the right thing. Happy Earth Day!


1- http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/