Today more than ever we are more aware of our impact on the Earth and the eco-friendly movement has well and truly taken off.
We know that what we eat has a huge effect on our planet from deforestation of rainforests- the lungs of our Earth, to carbon emissions made from the production, processing and transport of our food, the use of chemicals to grow food and last but not least all the food and packaging wastage along the way.
Sometimes it can be hard to know where one is to start to even try to make a dent in the big problems of our food system.
As eating a healthy diet is actually better for the planet and your health this can be the best place to start.
1. Stick to the 5 core food groups: These healthy foods have protective effects against heart disease, overweight, diabetes and some cancers.
Fruit (Go for 2 a day)
Vegetables (Go for 5 a day)
Iron rich protein foods: eggs, legumes (beans, lentils), fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, tofu (limit to 1-2 serves per day) lean meat, poultry.
Calcium rich protein foods: Low fat dairy products, soy alternatives, fish with bones. (Aim for 2-3 serves per day)
2. Cut down on those ‘Discretionary choices’ AKA ‘sometimes foods’ such as fried food, chips, sweet foods, chocolates, lollies, biscuits, pastries. These are highly processed, often plastic packaged, nutrient poor and add to increasing risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Is it a coincidence that these foods are not good for our environment and not good for our health?
Avoid impulse buying of highly processed over packaged ‘sometimes’ foods. Be prepared when leaving the house.
Take snack foods such as fruit, yoghurt, cheese and biscuits or nuts
Pack lunch for work or school using re-usable containers
3. Fresh produce from the green grocer or farmer’s market are usually cheaper, fresher, hence more nutritious, taste better and lasts longer.
Buy minimally processed and packaged foods and take your own green bags even for fruit, vegetables and bread or containers for meat/ deli items.
Choose products with short ingredients lists.
4. Even Fresher! Cut out the transport between harvest and plate.
Start a vegetable garden. Easy ones to grow are tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, capsicum, silver beet and beans.
Join your local community garden and produce swap group.
5. Drink mainly tap water and reuse drink containers.
Your body does not need the sugar, artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners found in processed beverages and the environment definitely does not need the carbon emissions from making all these extra ingredients or the plastic!
6. Get out and get active, turn off the screen and move!
Movement is protective against many of those chronic diseases, helps you relax, keeps you in a happy mood and also makes you sleep better!
Limit the use of your car – walk or ride your bike.
Go for a jog or stroll, enter and train for a fun run/walk.
Give family gifts of adventure like kayaking, stand up paddleboard classes or walking tours.
Join me at the Central Coast Harvest Festival Eat Like an Eco-Warrior Workshop to learn more about eating better for the planet, how to make changes to your eating and become an advocate for making changes in our food system and community.