5 Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year

healthy eating tips for the new year

How to eat well for you and the planet:

If healthy eating is one of your goals for 2016 here’s a recap of some of my healthy eating columns from 2015. They're ideas to help you choose food that is good for you and your family, with the environment in mind. 

How to reduce your pesticide exposure:

Shopping according to the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen is one way to reduce your pesticide exposure while still eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables. It helps you decide what produce you should consider buying organic, what conventionally grown produce you might want to eat less of and the produce you needn’t worry about.
The Clean Fifteen: Asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet corn, sweet peas (frozen), sweet potatoes. The Clean Fifteen tested positive for fewer pesticides and in lower concentrations.
The Dirty Dozen (Plus): Apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas (imported), spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, kale/collards

Reduce the carbon footprint of your supper:

Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of your supper? If you’d like to reduce your overall impact on the environment, eating less meat, especially beef, is a good place to start. Beef has the highest overall environmental impact of all protein sources. The greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef are double those of pork and four times the emissions of chicken. (Grass-fed beef has a much lower carbon footprint than factory-farmed beef.) Other protein sources like fish, nuts, beans and lentils have progressively lower carbon footprints, with lentils having the smallest environmental impact of all common proteins.

According to the World Health Organization, eating less meat is the best thing you can do for the planet. Here are more reasons to eat less meat.

Avoid Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs):

The jury is still out on genetically modified foods. Because there is no independent research proving genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption or that they don’t threaten the global food system, for now it’s best to avoid them. Because GMO labelling isn’t mandatory in Canada or the U.S. the best way to avoid GMOs is to buy certified organic version of the most common genetically modified crops: corn, canola and soy products. (GMOs are not permitted in certified organic foods). Buy fewer processed foods - it is estimated that GMOs are in 80% of processed foods (ex soy and corn additives - soy lecithin, glucose/fructose and high fructose corn syrup). Look for the “ProjectNon GMO verified” seal.

Eat Less Canned Tuna:

Is canned tuna safe to eat? Because tuna contains mercury it’s best to eat it in moderation and to be mindful of the type of tuna you’re eating. According to the EPA, children under six can safely eat three 3oz portions of light tuna per month. Older children and adults can safely eat light tuna up to once a week. If you’re eating chunk white tuna the frequency drops to once a month for young children, twice a month for older children and up to three times a month for adults.

Consider Almonds a Treat & Buy More Local Produce:

Consider this: It takes one gallon of water to grow one almond and the almond industry in California is booming. In fact, many produce farmers are replacing their row crops with almond trees. Meanwhile California is experiencing a severe multi-year drought. A good percentage of our fresh fruit and vegetables are imported from California, which means we’re very dependent on a food source that is doubly at risk. Doing all that we can to support our local food economy, especially during the growing season, will help to make our region lest dependent on food trucked in from faraway places.

Here’s to a new year full of healthy and happy possibilities.

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