Make your plate sustainable and healthy – Save the planet with a green diet

It was in 2015 that the food companies and dieticians awaited the highly anticipated dietary guidelines brought forth by the US Department of Agriculture and the only question that they all had in mind was whether or not they would include environmental considerations. Later on, the USDA updated its guidelines every 5 years on what were healthy for the Americans and what weren’t.

It was then that the advisory board of USDA first recommended that these guidelines on food items should also include sustainability. This federal agency was being asked to factor in considerations like whether or not the food that we eat is good for the planet and for our body.

Soon after, there was a huge uproar within the food industry as there were hundreds of commenters who kept arguing that the environmental guidelines set by the USDA were beyond the addressing and that they were nothing but an overreach of the authority of the USDA. Later on, the USDA revealed their final set of guidelines and though it didn’t contain any such environmental concerns, yet it was clear that nutritionists were all drawing connections between environment and health.

More and more consumers are eager to obtain better options

There are an increasingly large number of consumers who drive the push for food sustainability and they have been encouraging dieticians to go onboard. The consumers are no longer looking for what is there on the nutrition fact panel any longer but they also have a whole list of various other things which they wish to know about and how they define what eating right is. The supermarkets and bigger food stores are all taking a close look at the environmental and health concerns as the supermarket dieticians are extremely interested in engaging consumers and creating value.

The professors of nutrition think that there are various aspects of food sustainability – fair labor rights, making local economies, environmental impacts, animal rights which are all drivers of behavior modification. There are many such professors who have tried in their personal life to show people what they should actually be eating and they failed to change the mindset of people regarding their diet.

Diet that is healthier for you and also for the planet

If it was possible to appeal to the different drivers of how people choose their diet, this could not only address the obesity problem of the nation but also the environmental impacts of production of food and also the stability of the food supply chain. Decreased meat consumption could certainly have a huge impact on the usage of water. It was also seen by a food agency that 20% of the proteins received by Americans are from sources based on plants. If this could be shifted to 25%, this could lead to saving water to provide increased water supply to the entire nation.

It is indeed hard for people to get motivated enough to bring about an alteration in their eating habits for a positive result that they will see in the next decade. But if you could pose it in such a manner that they would receive an immediate payoff in the form of good health, weight loss, increased energy, this could help them focus on the benefits. Here, the health professionals have to play their role of encouraging more people to eat healthy. If you seem to be interested in a green diet, read on.

Making your plate sustainable – What it takes to bring about this change

There are multiple reasons why we eat, hunger being one of them. We eat for favor, for pleasure, we eat for comfort, for good health and for gaining good nutrition. Of late, there has been a brand new reason behind eating and what we eat. There are many who are adopting the ‘green diet’ and buying food which is local, sustainable and organic. People who are having a ‘green diet’ include the people who grow their own food and who compost their waste, who have been loving earth products Australia and also those who carry a reusable bag to the grocery store.

If you too want to prep up your green eating skills, here are few things that you can do:

Consume fresh produce of the season

In case you’re someone who is fortunate enough to reside in a state which has got lots of farms, you will always have access to vegetables and fruits throughout the year. When you eat local produce and you eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, this clearly means that your food has not travelled a lot to reach to you and this ensures its freshness. Alongside, you will also feel happier by supporting local farmers. Nevertheless, if you don’t have farms near you, grow your own fruits and veggies.

Cook in your own kitchen

When you eat at home, this will save your fuel that you may need to reach to a restaurant and the money that you will need for having the food. You will also cause benefit to your health as there’s no good that you can do to your health by eating out. When you cook your own food, you will have full control on the ingredients that you choose. If you want, you can reduce calories and the salt that you eat and make your meal a nutritional one.

Reduce wastage of food

As per reports, Americans generated 35 million tons of wasted food and this is almost 40% of the food that reaches our homes. If you could reduce the food waste, you would automatically save money and contribute to local landfill. Make sure you plan your meals in such a manner that you end up cooking the food that you bought and that there is no food left.

Grow your own veggies

How about designing a little vegetable plot at the backyard to get the best fruits and vegetables? If you have a garden at the backyard, you can fulfill all the points of sustainability. The vegetables that you grow will be unprocessed, organic and they will travel 0 miles to reach out to you. The waste can be put back into the soil.

5 Healthiest green foods to include in your diet

If you really believe that there can be no specific day to celebrate Earth Day, you should start including the healthiest green vegetables in your diet. Are you worried about what to include? Here are few to take into account.

1. Collards, kale and Swiss chard

These are termed as the ‘super veggies’ and they are at the top of the list because they really have no other role to play apart from improving your health. They are rich in calcium, fibre, chlorophyll and magnesium. An easy way to make the most out of them is to steam them, sauté them and add them into smoothies, juices and soups. Try a new leay green every week and keep rotating what you eat.

2. Living greens like broccoli, mung beans

If you have had sprouts, you’ll know that they are abundant in protein, enzymes and fibre. They’re living and hence will add freshness to the meal. You can add broccoli and sunflower sprouts to sandwiches, salads, soups, stir-fries and cooked grains.

3. Fresh green herbs like basil, parsley or dill

When you consume fresh herbs during summer and spring, this will uplift your spirit and give it a boost. Not only will you find it favorable in terms of taste but also in terms of its nutritional value. If you have green juices, you can also try to put in parsley, whole grains and chopped salads. There are fresh herbs like for example dill which have a nice accent to soups and dips. You can also utilize basil to design pesto and there’s nothing that can beat the taste when you make it homemade.

4. Asparagus

Asparagus is called the spear of the spring. It is one of the richest stalks which are an immensely vital source of fibre. The tips of asparagus are filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin K and iron. When you steam it, asparagus tastes great and just make sure that you don’t overcook. You should eat them green and not when it is brown.

5. Avocado

If you’re not in love with the creamy texture of avocados, you can definitely be enticed after you get to know your health benefits. Avocados are risk in protein, omega-3, antioxidants, vitamin E and they also protect your heart, skin and blood. They even have an amazing taste and when you add them to sandwiches, desserts, dips and salads, they taste extremely good. If you want to, you can mash up avocado and also apply it on your skin as a face mask.

Therefore, if you’re wondering about how you could adopt a sustainable diet to live a healthy life, take into account all the points mentioned in the article. Do good to your health and also to the environment by making proper choices of the foods that you choose.

Featured image source: Freepik

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Published by Nishitha

I am done with my Physiotherapy Graduation. And I always try to share Health and technology tips with people. Apart from Physiotherapy and being a tech savvy, I do explore more on Technology side and I keep sharing my findings with wider audience.

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