4 Easy Eco-Friendly Diet Changes To Help Your Body And The Planet
Our planet offers us so many rich experiences, from sailing on the open sea and zip-lining through rainforests, to cozy rainy days curled up with a good book. It is here where we share life with the people we love and create an existence wholly unique to us. It only makes sense that we’d want to protect and preserve our planet, not only for future generations but also for ourselves. While we may not be able to change some of the larger pieces of this puzzle, there are small changes we can make to something as simple as the food we eat. Here are four easy steps you can take today toward nourishing your body and this planet we call home.
1. Power up with a plant-based diet
Swapping to a plant-based diet is the first step many people take toward an eco-friendly diet and a healthier one. Plants provide fiber, phytonutrients, and even some antioxidants which aren’t found in meat or dairy products. Plus, a plant-based diet uses less land, less water, and emits fewer greenhouse gases.
Going to a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to go directly to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Try swapping out red meats for healthier options like poultry or seafood. Add some legumes such as lentils, beans, peas, or even peanuts to your plate for the protein. You don’t have to cut out red meat entirely but limiting your intake by just a little could have big implications for your health and your planet.
2. Aim for meals with seasonal foods
Transportation plays a huge role in the impact of food on the environment. Markets may carry fruits and vegetables year-round, but if they aren’t in season, they’re likely being shipped in from pretty far away. Keep a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables on the fridge, to remind yourself when they’re all in season. Or better yet, try growing a few of your own in a community garden or even in your backyard if you have one.
3. Shop locally whenever you can
Shopping local not only supports your community but also cuts down on fuel used to ship produce and gives you fresh delicious in-season foods that are good for the planet and good for your body.
4. Find simple ways to cut down on your food waste
While 37 million Americans struggle with hunger each year, we’re still managing to waste 72 billion pounds of food each year.1 Food waste takes up 21% of landfill volume, and 21% of all fresh water is used to produce food that’s then discarded.1 With numbers like that, it may be hard to feel like one family or person can make a difference, but we can!
Try to avoid buying food in bulk, if you can, as expiration dates are a big reason why food gets tossed out. Store your food properly to avoid premature rotting or try composting expired foods or parts of the produce you don’t use. Turn your Sunday night pizza plans into Sunday night scrap meals. Look up new recipes that use the ingredients you already have, and have fun trying new combinations. Invest in some seasonings, salad dressings, or stock up on olive oil (which can go a long way when it comes to roasting veggies).
Get creative and have fun! It may not seem like a lot, but you’re making choices that are good for your body and good for the planet—which is always something worth celebrating.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.
- Feeding America. “How We Fight Food Waste in the US.” 2020. Accessed on: April 10, 2020. <https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/our-approach/reduce-food-waste>