Eating sustainably is about choosing and eating foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but for our environment as well. We want to ensure that not only do we have enough food, but that future generations also have access to a variety of healthy food choices.
Sustainability is more than the food itself, but also the processing it requires, the route it takes to get to our table, and the packaging it comes in. Here are some tips to start your path to sustainability.
Try out your green thumb. We can’t all grow luscious gardens and raise our own livestock, but something as simple as an herb in a sunny windowsill can make a difference. How many times have you bought a bundle of cilantro only to use a few stems before it goes bad? Choose an herb your family consumes regularly.
Shop locally and seasonally. Not only does shopping locally support your community, it also reduces the environmental impact foods have as well – it takes fuel, time and money to ship strawberries from overseas in the middle of January. Purchasing strawberries in season at the local farmer’s market is not only more cost-effective for you, those berries will have much more flavor.
Make the switch. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 12 million barrels of oil are used to make the 380 billion plastic bags used by Americans annually. One reusable bag has the same average lifespan of 700 plastic bags. That’s nearly six months’ worth of plastic bags for the average American family. Store your reusable bags in the car, so you always have them on hand when you head out to shop for groceries.
Don’t buy what you don’t need. This seems obvious, right? However, staying mindful while you shop, sticking to your list and avoiding impulse buying can not only help you save money, it also reduces waste. If you’re only buying the items you need, your food won’t spoil before you have a chance to use it.
Enjoy a plant-based meal. Studies have shown that plant-based diets are more sustainable as they require fewer natural resources and are less stressful on the environment when compared to diets that are rich in animal products. This isn’t to say you should give up all meat and go vegan, but consider swapping a meal or two a week to be plant-based. A whole-grain pasta dish like Fettucine Alfredo with a mixed-greens salad is a great choice – check out a great recipe here.
If you are looking to make some changes to your diet – such as moving toward a plant-based diet – and don’t know where to start, reach out to Fort Leonard Wood’s Nutrition Care Division at 573.596.1762 to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian. No referrals are needed.
(Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Danellie Moore, a dietetic student and General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital intern)
GLWACH dining facility goes meatless on Mondays
Week-by-week options include:
– week one: General Tso tofu and cauliflower curry.
– week two: vegetable lasagna and eggplant parmesan.
– week three: falafel bowls and moussaka.
Additionally, a power bowl is available every Wednesday morning that combines a whole grain, vegetable and lean protein. The week two power bowl is vegetarian, consisting of egg whites, roasted chickpeas, tofu popcorn, sweet potato and a brown rice quinoa blend.
Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 573.596.1762 for more information.