eaters are responsible for 1.5 more tons of carbon dioxide per person
than vegetarians every year.
Source: Eshel, G., and P.A. Martin, 2006: Diet, Energy, and Global Warming.
Earth Interactions, 10, 117
The Shopper's Guide
to Pesticides from the Environmental Working Group is a handy
reference guide when deciding whether to purchase organically
grown produce. It is available at http://www.foodnews.org/
& Views on Child Nutrition
For Parents, Educators, and Health Professionals
Editor: Connie Liakos Evers, MS, RD, LD
Issue 72, August 2009
Steps To Eating Green
Better health, a safer food
supply, and a more sustainable environment all result from making conscious
choices about food and eating.
The principles of eating green
run parallel to the basics of eating well. A green diet emphasizes a
wide variety of whole, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, grains, beans,
nuts, low-fat dairy (or a dairy substitute made from soy, rice, or almonds),
healthy oils, eggs and smaller portions of meat, poultry, and fish.
A green diet is naturally high in fiber, nutrients and beneficial plant
compounds known as phytochemicals. Not only are green foods easier on
the planet, they also provide optimal nutrition for growing, active
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods
as much as possible. Foods in their whole, natural forms require far
less energy, packaging and transporting than their highly processed
counterparts. Think baked potato instead of "potato crisps."
- Eat less meat. Plant-based foods
such as legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are rich sources of protein.
Most Americans eat far more protein than needed for growth, repair and
maintenance. Meat production particularly that involving ruminant
animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats has the largest carbon
footprint of any agricultural activity. You don't have to go total vegetarian
to make a difference. Simply cut back on portion sizes, use smaller
amounts of meat in mixed dishes, or incorporate a few meatless main
courses each month.
- Whenever possible, eat food that
is grown, caught and processed close to home. Adapt diets to accommodate
the local foods that are in season. Patronize local farmers by purchasing
food at farmer's markets, farm direct stores, or community supported
agriculture (CSA) food shares.
- Grow some of your own food in
a home garden, patio containers, or a community garden plot. It's fun,
educational and delicious.
Note: The photos at left highlight Connie's 2009 home garden. YUM!
During world war II,
the government push to grow "victory gardens" resulted
in a significant contribution of fresh produce to the family
table. In 1943, 20 million victory gardens produced more than
40 percent of the vegetables grown for that year's fresh consumption.
Source: USDA Cooperative Extension Service, http://www.csrees.usda.gov/qlinks/extension.html
- Learn more about certified organic
foods and when it makes the most sense to purchase organically grown
foods. Grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or
genetically modified organisms, organic farming employs green principles
of agricultural production. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs
and dairy products are raised without the use of antibiotics or growth
- Water is the most important nutrient
our body needs as well as a precious and essential natural resource.
Practice water conservation and advocate for wise water use and a safe
water supply in your community.
- Once you get food home, be wise
with the waste. The biggest source of food waste is actually food that
is purchased and then thrown out, uneaten. Instead of nourishing bodies,
food is sent to landfills or processed through sewer systems (via the
garbage disposal). Compost produce peelings and scraps, coffee grounds,
tea bags, and egg shells. Worm bins are a great way to turn kitchen
scraps into garden gold. It's also a fun learning project for kids.
- Become an advocate for safe,
healthful, whole foods that are produced in a way that is friendly to
the earth. Let your voice be heard! Communicate with legislators, the
media, food manufacturers, advertisers, government agencies, restaurants,
schools, farmers, and anyone else that has influence over the food that
you eat each day.
- Save trees and minimize the use
of plastics by bringing reusable tote bags and mesh produce bags to
the store to carry home groceries and other goods. Minimize food packaging
materials by purchasing foods such as dry beans, oats, rice, pasta and
other foods in large size containers. Better yet, purchase foods in
bulk using your own reusable plastic containers.
- Recycle food containers whenever
possible. Steel and aluminum cans, cereal and cracker boxes, glass jars,
and many plastic bottles can be recycled curbside in many communities.