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3 simple ways to make healthy food choices for you and the planet – LA Daily News

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With Earth Day coming up April 22, now is an ideal time to take action in your life to help protect the health of the planet. If you are someone who enjoys breathing clean air, getting outside to enjoy nature and the California coastline and eating healthy food, the health of our planet matters to you. While the enormity of the environmental impact of humans on planet Earth can feel overwhelming, there are many meaningful everyday steps you can take to make a difference.
There are many ways to practice eco-friendly living. It can help to categorize these practices into areas like home, office and school to better assess where there is opportunity to change your daily habits that have significant environmental impact. For example, you may already be recycling cans and bottles at home, but not at work. Maybe you’ve been thinking about reducing your use of single-use containers when on the go but haven’t made the change. It’s not easy to change habits. Try starting with just one habit to work on, until you are ready to move on the next.
One place to start is with food. There’s no doubt that how we eat has an impact on the planet. Here are some eco-friendly grocery shopping and meal planning tips to empower you to merge your goals for a healthy body and a healthy planet:
Eat More Plants
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, around 9 percent of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of beef and dairy. However, there’s good news for omnivores who are not ready to go completely vegan just yet. Just reducing consumption of animal products can make a difference for the environment. From refrigerated and frozen meat alternatives to a wide variety of plant-based milks and yogurts, there are more plant-based options at the supermarket than ever before. The science is quite clear that eating plants is good for both people and the planet.
Rethink Meal and Grocery Delivery
When it comes to getting food on the table, convenience and time savings are important factors. Unfortunately, fast food and meal delivery services result in a huge amount of plastic and Styrofoam packaging waste, which ends up in landfills. While many of us haul our reusable bags to the grocery store, well-known grocery delivery services rely upon single-use bags. Good Eggs, an online grocery service, which also features meal kits, is super focused on packaging sustainability. They are making a difference with each piece of their packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable. Newly launched throughout the Los Angeles Area and Orange County, Good Eggs is making shopping for and preparing healthy food easier without sacrificing the environment.
Reduce Food Waste
Did you know that on average 30 percent of household food goes to waste? This has significant environmental ramifications due to the wasted resources that go into producing this food. Mindfulness in food selection, food storage and meal preparation can help cut back on food waste. Some strategies to help reduce food waste, such as eating leftovers and shopping with a grocery list, are more obvious. Other strategies like understanding the best ways to store food or how to use up all of a food including peels, seeds and stems, for example, can require some education.
LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations. She can be reached by email at RD@halfacup.com.
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