It’s getting darker; making it harder to get out of bed each morning. It’s getting colder; making it more tempting to crank the heat, take the car to destinations only minutes away, making hot showers drawn out, and hot drinks a necessity.

Winter is coming. Starbucks coffee cups, fast food packaging, and utility bills are rising; and your body blanket (winter chub) and bank credit is building. It seems the only thing that stays green in the winter are evergreen trees.

Being green can sometimes look seemingly impossible, a nuisance and a hassle, especially in the winter.

But it doesn’t have to be.

All it takes is a few simple changes, and being green will make your life easier. Being green can save you money, those extra inches on your waist, and your conscious- because you’ll be able to be that sustainable hippie you’ve always wanted to be.

All it takes is a little preparation and proactive thinking to create positive life changing habits. Literally. Life changing; for you and the planet.

Begin by pulling out that Tupperware you’ve hidden away. Head to the grocery store and hunt for deals and origins. Look for locally grown food; Canadian grown, Ontario grown, or Ottawa grown. The closer, the better.

Food products shipped from across the world are well waxed and sprayed with chemicals to ensure their freshness. These chemicals are far from natural, and while studies have not concluded what long term affects they will have on our bodies, they have shown to mess with hormones.

Stay away from snacks with a lot of packaging. Try replacing these foods with fruit and nuts. With the days getting shorter, the vitamins in fruit will boost your energy and the proteins in nuts will stop you wanting to snack on the treats in vending machines and pit stops that line our world.

Stocked with the food of your choice, make your lunch for the next day. If you foresee a busy week ahead make a big meal you can ration into meals for the rest of the week. It will save you time and stress, and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

But don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle and/or thermos.

Canadian winters are tiring and with finals around the corner, staying hydrated is extremely important. Drinking water will keep you awake, cleanse your body and fill you up when you get ‘bored hungry.’ Replace ‘studying and snaking’ with ‘studying and sipping’ (water) instead! You’ll find yourself more alert and memorizing will be easy as pie.

A reusable water bottle will save you money (only $3-$10 up front, while each disposable bottle costs around $2) and the dangerous chemicals that are in disposable bottles, primarily BPA, can cause cancer.

Now that your food is sorted, why not rethink your route to your next destination; whether it be school, work, home or wherever. Why not walk or bike? It’s a great way of fitting that cardio into a busy schedule. It also takes an extra car off the road and saves you money. Or similarly, grab the bus! It may seem easier to jump in the car, but you’ll save yourself thousands if you stick to the bus or sidewalk.

These are just little ways to change your lifestyle. You can also don thick sweater and socks instead of turning up the heat, use your Green Bin for disposing organics, and be conservative about the water you use, even while brushing your teeth.

Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being environmentally friendly. Whenever you waver remember; be like the evergreen. Stay green.