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Earth Day: Eco-Friendly Eating

Get the Skinny’s Earth Day Nutrition Guide: 3 ways to help save the planet and improve your health!

 

Sunday is Earth day, a reminder to continue striving to make environmentally responsible choices throughout our lives, including our diets. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on 3 simple strategies that you can start implementing today to reduce, reuse, and recycle — and improve your health.

1. Keep it local

The average food on your plate has traveled 1,500 to 3,000 miles, which requires an enormous amount of energy and generates large amounts of pollution.  Locally produced goods, in comparison, travel 150 to 300 miles on average.

Locally sourced produce can be more nutritious, too, since farmers can let produce ripen more fully before harvest, and more time spent on the branch or vine means more time receiving nutrients from the soil. Plus locally-grown produce hasn’t transported for days, which means that it’s probably been exposed to less oxygen, light, and time, all of which can deplete produce of vitamins and phytochemicals.

Where to buy local: http://www.nolalocavore.org/local-foods/local-farmer-markets/

And options aren’t limited to farmer’s markets; local seafood, dairy, produce is available in many grocery stores.

 

2. Be smart with plastics

Many plastic bottles and containers contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to health issues like reproductive abnormalities, obesity, and insulin resistance.

But not all plastics are bad. Check the bottom for the recycling numbers to know which are safer and more eco-friendly. Plastics with numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are reportedly free of BPA & other toxins – plus they’re all recyclable.

Steer clear of those with the numbers 3, 6 and 7, since these contain potentially harmful chemicals, and are the most difficult to recycle.

And instead of single-use plastics, consider reusable containers when possible. You’ll help reduce the amount of waste produced, so it’s better for the environment as well as your health.

 

3. Waste not

In keeping with eco-friendly eating is minimizing the amount of foods that ends up in the trash can.

For example, many recipes call for just a tablespoon or two of an ingredient like tomato paste. Instead of tossing the rest, freeze it.  Drop it by the tablespoon onto wax paper, freeze, and then store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Freeze leftover liquid ingredients (think pesto, broth, or freshly-squeezed lemon juice) in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a plastic bag and freeze for later.

Even fresh herbs can be frozen for future use: Pack ice cube trays half-way full with chopped herbs, then fill with water and freeze. Store in airtight container, and they’ll be ready to use for your next soup or sauté.

 

The bottom line: Reducing, reusing, and recycling, and incorporating more fresh, local foods will benefit our health as well as our local community, economy, and environment.


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