As we prepare to celebrate Earth Month in April and Stop Food Waste Day on April 27th, many of us will focus on making choices that improve the health of our planet. An added bonus is that several of the strategies that shrink our carbon footprint can also help to shrink our waistlines.
Shrink (or share) your portions
Starting with smaller portions has been shown to decrease the amount we eat – saving us important calories. Smaller portions also tend to decrease the amount of food we end up throwing away. This strategy is a win-win for the planet that both reduces waste and reduces the demands of producing more food than we really need. When eating out, if smaller portions aren’t available, share dishes with friends. You’ll get to taste a variety of foods without the added calories or waste.
Choose more plants
Plant foods like fruits, vegetables and grains require substantially less energy, land and water to produce than do animal foods like beef and eggs. Reducing how often you eat resource demanding animal products is a great way to contribute to a more sustainable food system. Replacing some of the animal foods in your diet with plant choices is also a great way to improve your health by increasing health-promoting nutrients like fiber and reducing those associated with disease risk such as saturated fat.
Last minute food decisions often lead to the “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” result. Planning ahead can help ensure better choices for your well-being, and that of the planet. Meal planning for the week prevents waste and keeps your nutrition goals in check. Create a meal plan for the week, have a grocery list ready and only shop for the things you need. Some stores have apps with built-in lists that automatically sort by area of the store.
Small changes add up to make a big difference in the fight against food waste! Ready to commit? Take the pledge to make every day stop food waste day – visit StopFoodWasteDay.com
1. Freedman MR, Brochado C. Reducing portion size reduces food intake and plate waste. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep;18(9):1864-6.