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MetMUnch Sustainability Bites

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Want to cut your environmental impact and start living a greener, healthier life? Check out these Top Ten Tips from MetMUnch and find out how your food choices can help make a sustainable planet.

Waste Not, Want Not

The more food you buy directly from a producer, the better it is in terms of waste. It’s estimated that a shocking 40% of food never makes it from producer to plate. All this food gets lost somewhere in the distribution network thanks to processing, storage and transportation. Buying direct from producers cuts all that waste out.

Shopping List

A shopping list really helps keep food waste down and your healthy eating plans on track. It may be basic but it’s been around for as long as we’ve had shops.

Water Waste

According to the Food Ethics Council, the world uses 200 million litres (53 million gallons) of water a second to grow its food. Despite this, by 2050, an estimated 1.8 billion people will be living without enough water to survive. Food agriculture uses 70% of the world’s water, and 60% of the water used is wasted. It takes 100 gallons of water during growing and production of a watermelon, 150 gallons for a loaf of bread, and 13.8 gallons for an orange. Finally, a vegetarian consumes around 2,000 litres of water a day, while a meat-eater clocks up 5,000 litres – so cutting down on meat definitely helps!

New Is Not Always Nice

Each year the food and drink industry launches around 10,000 new products – most of which require huge amounts of Earth’s resources to manufacture, package, distribute and dispose of. Don’t become a slave to the food industry’s marketing departments – stick to the least processed and packaged foods, which will be providing good nutrition and less of an environmental impact.

Loosen Up

It’s better to buy loose tea than tea in bags since there are less packaging and resources needed. Loose tea may even be better quality than the tea that makes it into bags. If you do buy tea bags, look for the ones with unbleached paper – white tea bags are chemically bleached for no reason! It tastes exactly the same, so go natural.

Morning Munch

Scientists have found that people who eat breakfast every day are a third less likely to be overweight or obese to those who skip it. But what to have for breakfast? Some cereals are highly processed and contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar, and as much saturated fat as a portion of a cake – plus all that packaging.

The best option is to make your own porridge, add fruits for extra nutritional benefit, or add a drizzle of honey for sweetness. Oats are the breakfast of choice for many athletes because the high fibre levels give them energy for longer. Scientists have found that for each ounce (28g) of wholegrains eaten a day – the equivalent of a small bowl of porridge – the risk of all death reduces by 5% and heart deaths by 9%.

These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing wholegrain consumption. So eat more wholegrain!

Cut Back on Rice

More than 90% of the world’s rice harvest is grown and consumed in Asia, which means that unless you live there your rice has notched up lots of food miles. It’s also possible that your rice has been treated with chemicals – according to WWF, Asian rice growers use 13% of global pesticides and a great deal of water (3,000 – 5,000 litres, or 800 – 1,300 gallons) to produce 1kg of rice.

Orchard Support

Since 1970, over 60% of UK apple orchards have been lost. Although there are 6,000 varieties of apples, today just 10 variations account for 92% of the UK apple market. Seek out traditional apples and look out for unusual varieties of damson, plums, cherries and pears.

Apples are one of the healthiest foods a person can eat. They are high in fibre and vitamin C, and they are also low in calories, have only a trace of sodium, and no fat or cholesterol. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants. These polyphenols are found in the skin of the apples as well as in the meat, so to get the greatest amount of benefits, eat the skin of the apple.

Local Carrots

Carrots are Britain’s second most popular vegetables after potatoes. Sustain suggests carrots are travelling nearly 60% further on the UK roads than in the 1970s due to centralisation of food distribution.
Carrots are nutritional heroes; they store a goldmine of nutrients. Few other vegetables or fruit contain as much carotene as carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A. The carrot is a truly versatile vegetable and an excellent source of vitamins B and C as well as calcium pectate, an extraordinary pectin fibre that has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties. The high level of beta-carotene is very important and gives carrots their distinctive orange colour. Buy your carrots loose – preferably organic – or even grow your own to get the maximum benefit.
Chicken or Egg?

Eggs contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B12 & E and omega fatty acids. They’re a good source of protein and are rich in antioxidants.

Always buy free-range eggs even if they are slightly more expensive. Treating animals well isn’t just good for the animals, but also beneficial to human health: studies have shown factory farmed chickens contain more fat and less iron than traditional breeds in free-range or organic conditions. Battery chickens are given dense food and are inactive; a typical supermarket chicken in the West contains more fat than protein, with 2.7 times as much fat as in 1970s.

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MetMUnch

3:24pm Wednesday, 26th August 2015