By Samantha Wilford, MS, RDN, CD
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is sustainable eating. Making sustainable food choices is not only better for the planet, but also for your wallet and health. Here are some ways you can get started:
Eat More Plant Foods
Growing plant foods generally takes up fewer environmental resources and emits fewer greenhouse gases than animal products or highly processed foods. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your meals.
Choose foods with less packaging
Avoid plastic when possible and choose boxes or cans that can be recycled. Try to purchase fresh/whole foods when available, or shop in the bulk section.
Reduce Food Waste
Make a weekly menu and/or grocery list to help you buy only what you need. Be sure to properly store food to maximize its shelf life and consider freezing food nearing expiration.
Shop In-season and Local When Possible
Consider where your food comes from and how far it had to travel to get to your plate. Smaller/local farms tend to follow more sustainable farming practices than their larger counterparts. Check out your local farmers market in the spring and summer for farm-fresh produce!
Grow Your Own Food
It doesn’t get fresher or more local than your own garden! Gardening is also a great way to teach kids about healthy foods and foster a greater appreciation for the environment. If you’re new to gardening or limited on space, consider a container garden that can fit on a balcony, or growing some fresh herbs in front of a window.
Learn more at eatright.org.