When our parents lectured us to eat green, that pretty much meant, eat your broccoli. A decade later the “generation z” kids will have an entirely new interpretation. They’ll associate eating green to being environmentally conscious.
How are food is grown, raised, processed, packaged, and transported affects the environment and ultimately our own health and wellbeing.
The simplest of changes can make an everlasting effect on the planet…
Bag the beef. Or at the very least cut back and switch to grass fed beef. Almost 10 percent of U.S land is used for animal feed utilizing excess land, water, fertilizer, pesticides, and energy. Just over 30 percent of land is used for grazing cattle, equaling a very large portion of terrain for livestock. Instead of topping off your lunch salad with beef or chicken (for your protein source) try soybeans, a much more efficient energy source and equally high in protein.
Veg out. Veggies require less energy to grow and produce no greenhouse gasses. Plus they provide a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Instead of the usual (and unexciting) steamed veggies, try roasting them (any and all veggies) in the oven, then shave a little fresh Parmesan cheese on top just prior to serving (double portions may reduce how much animal protein you eat).
Stay close to home. Eating locally is a great way to support your community and cut down on the carbon footprint (it takes an average of 1500 miles for produce to get to your plate). For more info, go directly to the source—farmers markets are everywhere and a great place to shop. Grocery stores are also taking part by labeling local and organic produce. Some local farmers may not be labeled organic but do in-fact practice organic methods (they just can’t afford the high cost of certification).
Stay seasonal. Taking advantage of the northern and southern hemisphere just to get berries during our winter is no excuse. Think of the food miles. Eating seasonal means we’re listening to Mother Nature and not sucking energy from hothouses (when produce is grown in the winter—unless of course those hothouses are run on renewable energy).
Home Cookin. Not only will you save yourself the trifeca of fat, calories, and sodium, you’ll also save energy, packaged waste and cooking at home is always more cost effective.
As a dietitian, I feel compelled to say that while this might not be what you want to hear, consuming fewer calories equals less stress on the environment it also equals one less notch on the belt. Cutting back just ten percent of your calories would make a huge change in global warming. It’s a co-benefit that we all benefit from.