Washington, DC - At Food Tank, every day is Earth Day, but we invite you to celebrate with us a on April 22nd and challenge you to reflect upon your own eating habits. Are you eating as if the planet matters?
This is an opportunity to eat in ways that better protect both people and the planet. Eating as if the planet matters means eating more healthful foods, wasting less food, helping reverse climate change, and reducing the rates of overfishing and overexploitation of soils. These changes can also help eaters save money and build more resilient communities.
1. Tailor your portion sizes.
A study by nutritionists found that pasta dish portions at popular U.S. take-out, fast-food, and family restaurants are almost five times bigger than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s recommended personal meal sizes. Taking extra food home from restaurants and using portion size guides can help you regain control of your meal sizes.
2. Waste less
Globally, 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted every year. This equals more than two tons (or 4,000 pounds) of food per hungry person every year. Eating all edible parts of fruits, vegetables, and meat, finding creative uses for food past its prime, and using food storage solutions are a few ways to waste less food.
3. Eat a more plant-based diet and refine your meat consumption
Even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can also help reduce each person's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 percent and food-related water footprint by up to 36 percent. When eating meat, refine your meat consumption and choose products from companies who are striving to be socially and environmentally responsible like Organic Valley and Niman Ranch.
4. Eat Low on the Marine Food Chain
Eating large, predatory fish at the top of the food chain, like tuna or cod, carries dramatically higher environmental impacts than eating fish that feed on plants, insects, or plankton, like tilapia or sardines. Seafood purchasing guides and trying sustainable seafood recipes can help reduce environmental impacts.
5. Eat Forgotten and Endangered Foods
Diversifying your diet with new fruits and vegetables and eating natively grown foods are a couple ways to help preserve plant species that are resilient to climate change and other threats, including drought, insect pests, and diseases.