Healthy Eating, Healthy Planet

April 22nd is Earth Day, an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. With climate change on the rise, it is now more important than ever that we play our part. The good news is that we can make positive impacts on a daily basis through our eating behaviors. Furthermore, transitioning to a sustainable eating pattern can be healthful not only to environment, but to you as well! Sometimes being environmentally conscious can seem overwhelming, but even small changes can have a big impact. Here are 3 tips on how to eat more sustainably:

  1. Push to Eat More Plants– The benefits that come from eating more plants do not stop at the environment! An increase in plant-based foods has also been linked to a decrease in chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. While this can certainly mean trying a whole new dietary pattern, such as a vegetarian diet, it can also be something as simple as jumping on the Meatless Monday bandwagon. A small change is one step closer to improved physical and environmental health. Becoming more plant-based includes increasing legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts while decreasing meat products, especially red meat and processed meat. Replace your next meat-based dish with one these recipes: Lentil Bolognese, Pinto Bean and Roasted Vegetable Tacos
  2. Shop Local and In Season! Explore your local farmer’s market and consider signing for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Supporting farmers and buying locally-sourced produce means that food has travelled a shorter distance to get to you, which not only supports the health of the environment, but ensures you are getting the most nutritious and delicious produce! It cuts the fuel used for the food to travel, without cutting the nutrients. If a CSA is not for you, try to do some research on the produce that is in season and be sure to add to your next grocery list! To learn more about CSAs and how you can sign up, visit the website below: Find Your Local CSA
  3. Minimize Food Waste: According to the USDA, over 1/3 of all available food goes uneaten in the United States. Minimize food waste following these 3 easy steps.
    1. Learn to Love Your Leftovers! Save leftovers or repurpose ingredients in a new way for another meal. Utilizing your freezer can extend the life of leftovers for a later date.
    2. Don’t Overbuy: Be sure to check the food labels for the use by date and be sure to stick to your list to prevent overbuying. Rotate your inventory at home to help with this.
    3. Try Composting: Try composting instead of throwing food scraps into the trash, where they ultimately end up in a landfill! Check out the EPA website for more details: Composting Tips

Sources:

https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste

https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/culture-and-traditions/sustainable-eating, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/well/eat/a-guide-to-sustainable-eating.html, https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0121p22.shtml

https://eatrightpa.org/members/blog/plant-based-diet-for-heart-health/