Why should our healthy eating choices only affect us, why not also make healthy eating choices to promote the health of our planet? NUTRITION and the ENVIRONMENT do intertwine and it is time we started eating for both the health of ourselves and our planet!
I am not going to tell you to go out and start buying organic foods, because most of the claims made about those products being more nutritious and environmentally friendly have not been proven yet. I have read scientific journal articles and moreover cannot find sound evidence at this time to support the facts that organic foods are better than conventionally grown foods for us and our environment. So how can I still eat to promote the health of my environment and myself you may ask….well here are five ways you can start eating for your health and environment.
1) Limit the amount of packaged foods you buy. According to the EPA every American is generating about 1,600 pounds of waste every year and one third of that comes from packaging. I understand it is hard to do when you live by yourself, need fast convenient foods, or need shelf stable foods to take with you to work/school without spoiling, but it is an achievable goal. Next time you go shopping, try to buy products that have less packaging; for example, when buying vegetables and fruits buy them whole, not pre-cut and packaged. Additionally, buying in bulk to save on packaging so there will be less to recycle.
2) Buy locally grown foods. Check out Farmers’ Markets in your area. It is a great way to meet the people that grow your food and helps to reduce carbon emissions due to transport. Another great way to enjoy locally grown foods is signing up for a food co-op.
3) Look for recyclable packaging materials when you shop. Currently, I have begun buying glass milk jugs from Oberweis. I love the milk and being able to reuse the glass milk jugs.
4) Be water savvy. If you are currently buying purified water at the grocery store put a water filter on your facet at home and use a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing one use plastic water bottles, saving money and natural resources.
5) Take cloth bags with you when grocery shopping. This will help to reduce the number of plastic bags used. Remember, to put extras in the truck of your car and replace them after you empty the groceries in your house.
Don’t forget to eat green and shop green!