The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and things are looking bright and hopeful this season. How can we continue to take care of our health and take better care of the Earth this spring?Jump to Recipe
Enjoy plant-based more often.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is estimated to contribute to 14.5% of global human caused greenhouse gas emissions, and that skipping just one serving of beef per week for a year saves the equivalent emissions to driving 348 miles in a car! From a health perspective, choosing plant proteins and reducing meat intake can lead to multiple health benefits. Research shows that choosing plant based lowers saturated fat and cholesterol intake while increasing fiber and unsaturated fat intake. Therefore, it may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other heart related issues. Even enjoying a plant-based diet occasionally can impact the environment and your health. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Introducing a few vegetarian meals a week or having meat as a “side portion” and featuring vegetables as the “main event” is a step to enjoying more plants.
Plan your meals.
A loosely structured meal plan can ensure that we are consuming the nutrients we need each week and that we are utilizing the foods we have on hand. We are more likely to shop and purchase only what we need if we’ve planned meals.
Buy only what you need in fresh produce because it has a limited shelf-life. If you don’t shop often, try to supplement with frozen fruits and vegetables to last longer in between shopping trips. Shop farmers markets or CSAs to shop seasonally and locally – less transit, less waste! Embrace produce with imperfections to waste less – there are many ways you can make “ugly” produce delicious. Steer clear of produce that are overly bruised and damaged as they may be moldy or bad by the time you eat them.
Store items in clear containers or bags with “like” food groupings. That way you can tell when you are running low on and what you don’t need to purchase. Choose to eat foods that will expire first (such as berries and greens) before those that last longer (such as apples or carrots). Many fruits and vegetables can be frozen before they go bad and repurposed in smoothies, pesto, and soups.
Have a plan for leftovers
Choose to have leftovers as lunches or for an easy dinner night later in the week. If you don’t like to eat the same meals in a row, freeze leftovers to enjoy later in the month. Or repurpose leftover starches such as rice into an entirely different cuisine. Turn taco night into stir fry or Asian night into a burrito with rice so that it doesn’t feel like the same rice.
Compost what you can’t eat.
Kitchen scraps such as apple cores, onion skins, egg shells, peals, coffee grounds and any other scraps from fruits and vegetables can all go into a compost bin or pile to reduce trash waste. Bins can be simple piles with grass clippings and leaves, or can be a clean closed container. Don’t want to have your own in the back yard? You can even contribute to a local community composting area!
So there you have it. A few simple ways we can take care of our health and the Earth this spring. Enjoy plants more, be smart about choosing them, storing them and eating them in entirety. At the end, compost and repurpose any scraps! To start try this delicious plant based spring salad!
Spring Pesto Salad
This delicious salad uses fresh produce and quinoa for a fiber fueled, protein packed lunch!
- 1/2 cup quinoa cooked
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup peas I used frozen, thawed
- 1/4 cup brussels sprout raw, shredded
- 2 tbsp cucumber chopped
- 1 tbsp pesto store bought or homemade
- 1 tbsp parmesan shredded
Cook quinoa according to instructions and thaw peas (These can be done in advance).
Once quinoa is ready, place in a large bowl.
Add spinach, cucumber, peas and shredded brussels sprouts. Stir together.
Add parmesan and pesto. Stir to incorporate through entire salad.