5 Sustainable Foods That Are Good for You and the Planet
Happy Earth Day! I hope you are taking some time today to get outside and enjoy and appreciate our beautiful planet, wherever you are. Of course, socially-distanced, with a mask, and just for a bit, ha! ?
As a nutrition coach, I encourage you to think about what’s in your food and to make good choices when it comes to what you are putting into your body. Earth Day is the perfect reminder that we should pay attention to not just what’s in our food, but also where it comes from.
The good news? Many of the foods I would advocate for you to add to a healthy eating plan are equally healthy for the planet! Often times, foods that are the most nutritious are also the most sustainable.
I say often, and not always, because we’ve all heard about the highly nutritious and yummy - but not so environmentally-friendly - avocados, bananas, almond milk, and honey. It’s all about balance so take them as a treat and make well-informed choices as much as you can.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE FOOD?
It’s quite the catchword lately, and if you search around the web, it seems defining sustainability when it comes to food is quite complicated. Simply put, sustainable food is food that is good for the environment. It’s food that is produced or grown using practices that help to conserve natural resources and that have a minimal negative impact on the environment. Sustainable eating, then, is choosing foods that are good for our planet AND our bodies.
HERE ARE MY TOP 5 SUSTAINABLE FOODS FOR A HEALTHY PLANET (AND YOU!) AND A RECIPE FOR EACH WHEN YOU CLICK ON THEM
- Good for the planet: Considered to be the most climate-friendly protein in the world, this versatile grain legume requires very little water to grow and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.
- Good for you: Packed with protein and fiber, this multipurpose, affordable grain legume, and meat alternative is full of polyphenols, active compounds that fight against harmful agents in your body.
- Good for the planet: With very low greenhouse gas emission, locally-sourced tomatoes have a small environmental impact relative to most other fruits and veggies. Growing tomatoes requires very little space, so they’re super easy to grow at home if you decide to try your hand at gardening!
- Good for you: Lycopene, an antioxidant abundant in tomatoes, is a powerful disease fighter. They are also good sources of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
- Good for the planet: Like most legumes, chickpeas are environmental superheroes for their ability to fortify the soil they grow in by turning nitrogen in the air into fertilizing nutrients.
- Good for you: Another great vegetarian protein source, chickpeas are the most widely-consumed legumes in the world. They are loaded with fiber and B vitamins to keep your metabolism and digestive system in top form.
- Good for the planet: Because it’s able to produce its own natural pesticides to protect it from harm, broccoli, like most cruciferous veggies, has a low carbon footprint.
- Good for you: Where to even begin? Full of fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse!
- Good for the planet: Growing to maturity quickly and able to thrive in most climates with little water, leafy greens like kale have a very low overall impact on the environment.
- Good for you: An effective anti-inflammatory food, kale is a good source of iron, calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Stay strong, healthy, and kind to the environment. Happy Earth Day!
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