By: Alexandra Oppenheimer, MS, RD
It is easy to assume that when we eat well, we are being good to our bodies and not much else is affected. The truth is, our food choices make a bigger impact than just on ourselves and those around us—our choices impact the environment, too. Food doesn’t just appear on shelves and in markets, it undergoes harvesting, packaging, transportation and even further processing before you purchase it. The amount of fuel used in this process can be astonishing. In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), I’m sharing five ways to eat more green and introducing you to two registered dietitians that can further help you eat in a way that’s more environmentally-conscious. Need more inspiration? Try taking this Earth Day Footprint Calculator to see the impact your every day behaviors have on the Earth. Making big changes can be challenging and overwhelming. When making any changes, take small steps and incorporate one or two changes into your routine and help make them stick. Every change makes a difference!
- Eat more local food in season: local produce uses less fuel to get from its roots to your kitchen and helps support your local farmers!
- Try to choose organic produce, or at least organic produce on the Dirty Dozen list: choosing organic versions of produce reduces the level of pesticides the environment is exposed to…and reduces exposure to your body as well.
- Purchase foods with less packaging: while it is more convenient to purchase a container of pre-portioned foods, this creates more waste! If you want grab-and-go snacks, skip the pre-portioned packages and portion them yourself into your own reusable containers in grab-and-go serving sizes. This works great for things like nuts, unsweetened dried fruits, and carrots.
- Choose more plant foods and less meat: eating less meat can help reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
- Find ways to use less energy while cooking: letting an oven pre-heat or keeping a pot of water boiling for hours uses more energy and spends more of your money.
These suggestions were inspired by eco-friendly dietitians and the books they have written. Kate Geagan, MS, RD is the author of Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet (Rodale). Kate provides guidance to help you improve your carbon footprint and make better food choices. Full of shocking facts, you’ll have a deeper understanding about how our choices impact our health and the environment. Kate’s meal plans, green tips and flavor-filled recipes make Go Green, Get Lean a fabulous resource to help you eat better for yourself and the planet.
Jackie Newgent, RD is a natural culinary nutritionist and author of The Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-carbon Lifestyle (Wiley). Described as a “climate-conscious” cookbook, Jackie’s collection of green recipes are a delicious way to enjoy and celebrate being more eco-friendly. The cookbook provides delicious recipes, while at the same time providing thought-provoking tips for cooking in a way that’s good for your health, wallet and the planet. For examples of these tips, check out her Eco-Savvy Cooking Tips.
This Earth Day, think about how you can eat better for yourself and the planet. What changes are you going to make? Tell us below!This entry was posted in Education, Nutrition and Wellness and tagged Big Green Cookbook, Carbon Footprint, conserve energy, Dirty Dozen, Earth Day, eat in season, eat local, environmentally-conscious, Go Green Get Lean, good for the planet, good for you, Jackie Newgent, Kate Geagan, organic produce. Bookmark the permalink.← 5 Healthy Spring FoodsChia Seed Pudding →