How to eat healthier and more eco-friendly

Lifestyle

NEW YORK — Earth Day is a day when people around the world think about our planet and how we can be better to it.

If you want to take action and live the Earth Day message beyond one day, you can do it by eating differently.

Chef and nutritionist Diane Henderiks shared some tips to help people eat healthier and more eco-friendly.

Minimize meat consumption

Eating less meat will improve your personal health and the health of the planet. The meat industry contributes to nearly ⅕ of the manmade greenhouse gas emissions. 

You don’t have to be vegetarian, but you can eat a lot of vegetables and limit meat intake by opting for fish and plant-based proteins.

Cook consciously

Using the right-sized pan to get the job done reduces wasted energy. The smaller the pan, the less energy is needed to heat it up. If you boil water, use it right away and don’t let it boil needlessly, which burns energy.

Preheat your oven for only as long as needed. Invest in cast irons, which are great heat conductors, use less oil, and still cooks food when the heat is off.

Also, try not to use the dishwasher if it’s not full and don’t keep the faucet running if you’re not using it.

Food waste

Nearly half of the food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. goes to waste. Composting is the best way to reduce waste, but that’s not always the most realistic option.

Instead, you can plan ahead and make a shopping list to avoid overbuying. If fruits and veggies are on their last days, cook them up or freeze them for another time. 

Go organic

Eating organic can help keep the environment safe from pesticides and other toxins. It can reduce nutrient pollution, improve soil organic matter, and reduce pesticide residues in food and water.

Though a little more expensive, consider cutting back on junk and processed foods and buy more organic fruits and vegetables.

Growing food

Consider growing your own herbs and vegetables. All you need is soil, water, light and seeds. They can be grown on a windowsill, a deck, balcony, rooftop or patio. There are also endless options of what you can grow.

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