When the new year rolls around, many people make resolutions to improve their lives and help others around them. These goals can be challenging, but they’re worthwhile if you can complete them. One beneficial resolution this year is to start eating green.
Eating green means eating ethically sourced fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods and reducing your carbon footprint. This year, prioritize finding ways to improve your diet by green eating. This guide will outline why it’s essential and how it can jumpstart healthy routines.
Why Is Eating Green Food Important?
When you were a kid, your parents, teachers and others probably told you to eat vegetables. After a while, they sounded like a broken record, but they made good points. Increasing your vegetable intake helps your body and others around you. These three reasons show the benefits of eating green.
Veganism and green eating are on the rise. In 2020, the plant-based food market had a $29.4 billion market value. Experts project that number will increase to $161.9 billion. Some people switch to veganism for dietary reasons, and others to promote ethical food consumption. When you eat green, you do your part to help the planet.
Increasing your vegetable intake improves the health of your body and the environment around you. Yearly, companies worldwide clear forests to make room for farms to raise livestock, resulting in high carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane emissions. These animals produce 7.1 gigatons of CO2 annually, accounting for nearly 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Eating green reduces dependence on these animals and supports more sustainable diets.
Vegetables do wonders for your health. In particular, they provide essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for daily function. Though they may seem small, fruits and vegetables have a lot of nutrients in one serving. Some of them have vitamins and minerals you need more of during the day, such as:
Magnesium: Magnesium is critical for your body because it regulates calcium levels and maintains your strong bones. However, the average American only gets about half of the recommended daily amount. You can find magnesium in foods like pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds and cashews.
Iron: Iron deficiency is common in the United States and worldwide. People with this anemia often feel fatigued, have pale skin and feel coldness in their hands. Meat is a common source of iron, but there are other ways to get it from green eating. For example, you can find iron in peas, dried fruit, beans, cereal and bread.
Fiber: Fiber is integral for your body’s digestion system. Also, it helps regulate your blood sugar and keep you full after meals. The average person needs between 25 and 30 grams of fiber daily but only gets about 15 grams. A green diet will help you get a substantial amount of fiber from foods like carrots, broccoli, eggplants and cauliflower.
3. Supporting the Community
Eating green makes sense for your body and the environment. And it can help your surrounding economy. One way to promote a green diet and sustainability is by shortening your supply chain. For example, you could shop at a farmer’s market or any store that locally sources its food.
Shopping for locally-grown produce is an excellent way to support your community and your green diet. Farmers markets are ideal for finding in-season produce that tastes better. And the food has a much shorter route to your dinner table. For example, Washington apples are famous because they taste great. But a North Carolina resident can make more sustainable choices by purchasing apples from Hendersonville.
Another way you can support the community is by eating at restaurants that believe in sustainability and shortening their supply chain. For example, you could try Sweetgreen, a Washington, DC-based chain that helps customers reimagine fast food. Sweetgreen prides itself on making real food convenient and accessible for everyone without harming the environment. The restaurant is 30% less carbon-intensive than an average US meal.
How Can You Get Started With Eating Green?
Green eating is a terrific adventure if you want to eat healthier and be more conscious of the environment. Making wholesale changes to your diet can be challenging, but there are ways to make the transition easier.
First, try incorporating plant-based snacks into your diet. The market for vegan-friendly snacks is growing significantly, so it’s easy to find these foods at your local grocery stores. For example, try Mozaics Chips. These snacks are healthier than generic potato chips, with peas and beans as ingredients. Their salsa, barbecue and sea salt flavors make you forget you’re eating vegetables.
Another way to get started with green eating is to educate yourself. You can make it easier by taking on the task with a friend or enrolling in a class. One excellent way to learn is through Melissa Wood Health (MWH).
The founder, Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, is a fan of restaurants like Sweetgreen and aims to help people be more mindful in life. MWH offers classes like pilates and yoga to help her audience achieve their fitness goals and improve their health, wellness and lifestyle. The platform also has many recipes to support green eating, such as healthy pancakes, smoothies and plant-based dinners.
Can Eating Green Substitute Meat?
Green eating includes incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet and reducing your meat consumption to support the environment. Some people hesitate to lower their meat intake because they have protein goals. However, you can still get adequate protein by eating green.
For example, you can go to the supermarket and find plant-based burgers. They don’t contain meat, but they’re lighter and often have a solid amount of protein per patty. Or you can find these vegan burgers at restaurants like Burger King. The Shroom Burger from Shake Shack is an excellent choice for fans of mushrooms and green eating.
If you want protein, you don’t have to seek plant-based burgers, protein powders or other sources. You can find them in the vegetables you eat. For example, edamame or immature soybeans have 18 grams of protein per cup. Lentils reach even higher with 24 grams of protein per cup. You can incorporate these foods into your soups, pasta and salads to promote green eating.
The Numerous Benefits of Eating Green
The past few years caused people to ask, “Why is eating green food important?” The pandemic and other events have made sustainability a more prominent part of daily life. People want to see more green in their cars, houses and dinner tables. The benefits of eating green go beyond your health. It helps the environment and connects communities by promoting local economies.