Health & Fitness

Green Eating Good for You & the Environment

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by Shelly Stinson

With so many dietary choices and eating lifestyles to pick from, it can be hard to determine which ones you should follow, particularly when you’re a little higher up there in age. For instance, some eliminate meat from the diet completely, whereas others center their meals on these types of foods. So which diet is best? One that involves green eating.

Green eating is about choosing healthy, good-for-you foods that are as good for the environment as they are for our bodies. This means that, in saving our waistlines, we’re also saving the planet. This makes it a choice that has positive consequences not only for us, but for generations to come. What does green eating look like and how do you do it?

Eating fruits and veggies versus processed foods

For starters, green eating means consuming lots of fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods. This is good for you as each one is loaded with a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals and it’s good for the earth because it’s much better to have trees and plants producing our food than factories.

If you’re not currently eating enough fruits and veggies, aim to increase your intake by one or two a week until you get the Health Canada recommended seven servings a day. The reason for adding them into your diet slowly is because these food groups are higher in fiber. In other words, if you increase them too quickly, you’ll likely have a lot of gas, bloating, and abdominal cramping as a result.

Another option is to juice your fruits and vegetables, enabling you to receive their nutrients while limiting the amount of fiber you put in your body. Additionally, juicing is a good alternative on days when you’re not overly hungry but want to keep your nourishment up.

Choosing organic food options whenever possible

Green eating also means choosing organic foods whenever you can. While they’re often a little bit higher in cost, not putting unnatural substances in your body is priceless. They can potentially protect you from illnesses or conditions that their non-organic counterparts sometimes cause. It is also good for the environment because it means fewer potentially harmful substances being sprayed on the foods and plants.

Organic foods are generally clearly labeled as such if you tend to buy your groceries from a supermarket. And if you shop at a local farmer’s market, if the foods aren’t labeled, you can always ask the seller if any herbicides, pesticides, or other GMOs (genetically modified organisms) were used in their growth process. If not, that makes them good choices.

Limiting your food waste

A third important part of eating green also means limiting your food waste. It is estimated that food waste costs Canadians over $31 billion every year. That’s not even considering the costs of planting, harvesting, and delivering these food items to consumers. What can you do to help resolve this growing problem?

Of course, you don’t want to buy more food than you can use. It also helps to freeze leftovers so you can enjoy them another day instead of throwing them in the trash. You could even donate any surplus in your fridge and cupboards to local families struggling to put food on their own table. There are many options to consider instead of simply throwing it out.

Eating green is beneficial all the way around. And as an older adult, choosing to take this route enables you to show future generations not only that you care about them, but also that you’re willing to do your part. Imagine what a role model that makes you!