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Tips for Healthy and Sustainable Outdoor Dining

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(StatePoint) The fall season is the ideal time of year to dine outdoors. To create a healthy and sustainable outdoor dining experience, consider these tips:

• Reduce and reuse/ditch the plastic: Ditch the single use cups, plates and utensils and instead, serve meals using reusable dinnerware made from sustainable, shatterproof materials designed for outdoor use. Use rimmed plates to help reduce spills and wine charms or a set of glasses with unique colors to make it easy for each person to identify their glasses.

• Cook completely outdoors: Set up your cooking and prep stations outside for an authentic start to finish al fresco experience. Consider going beyond the grill and turning a portion of your backyard into a full outdoor kitchen, complete with coolers and storage and working space. This will not only make you a more versatile outdoor chef, but also, it eliminates the need to rush between the kitchen and your outdoor set-up, enabling you to enjoy more fresh air, more time with your family and a streamlined food prep experience.

• Stay hydrated but ditch the bottled water: Bottled water contains microplastics and contributes to waste. Consider a more sustainable option with a reusable water filter pitcher that doesn’t ruin your outdoor look. One great option is the LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher, which protects against over 30 contaminants, including bacteria, parasites, microplastics, lead, mercury and chemicals, including PFAS and chlorine. The sleek and sustainable design is available in 7-cup and 10-cup sizes made from either glass or BPA-free materials. Available at LifeStraw.com, Walmart.com and Target.com

• Highlight fresh flavors: Fall can actually be prime planting season. Cultivate an organic garden for access to herbs such as mint, basil and dill, which you can toss into meals for a fresh and nutritious burst of flavor, as well as use to create herb bouquets for an aromatic tablescape.

• Beat bugs: Evening meals are often enjoyed at dusk, which is, unfortunately, the most active time of day for biting bugs. Fend pests off naturally and keep diners comfortable safely with a citronella candle or other natural solutions like lemon eucalyptus, peppermint oil and lemongrass oil.

This fall, make your outdoor space the heart of the home by transforming it into an area where you can enjoy healthy, sustainable meals with your family.

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