Earth Day is coming up

April 22nd is Earth Day!  This blog is coming up on its one year anniversary, and I realized I haven't written much in the way of environmental health, so I think this is a great time to do so.

Making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint (the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities) leads to making healthier food choices.  Processed foods require more energy to produce one meal than cooking whole foods from scratch.  Studies show that processed foods contribute the majority of calories, saturated fat, added sugars and sodium in the typical North American diet.  Choosing whole foods will reduce your carbon footprint as well as increase nutrient density.

Here are some resources for reducing your carbon footprint and choosing healthier foods:

Reducing meat consumption, especially lamb, beef and dairy, will reduce your carbon footprint.  Support the Meatless Monday movement and try out some new vegetarian/vegan recipes for variety.

It can be challenging to eat whole foods at every meal, and healthier, sustainable options for pre-packaged meals and snacks are available.  The Environmental Working Group provides a database that provides "food scores"for pre-packaged foods.  The food score is rated 1-10 (1 being the healthiest, most sustainable option).  Check out the rating for processed foods you eat:  EWG's Food Scores.

Reduce the amount of energy you use in the kitchen (and reduce your hydro bills!) by choosing the smallest appliance/burner for the job, thawing food in the fridge, keeping lids on pots, and using  your oven light instead of opening it to check on food. 

You can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing food items with less packaging.  Pack reuseable grocery bags and produce bags with you before heading to the grocery store, and use tupperware containers to pack your lunch or snacks on the go.  And lastly, walk or bike to the grocery store whenever possible!

American Society for Nutrition
Environmental Working Group
BC Hydro
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