The Best Diet for Hot Moms
By: Kate Geagan
Start a green revolution from your kitchen at your next meal. America’s Green Nutritionist (and fellow HMC member) Kate Geagan MS, RD, shows you how to whittle your waist AND your waste with four easy steps, just in time for summer.
The American diet is the SUV of eating styles, and what you eat is as important as what you drive when it comes to your impact on the planet. Eco-licious eating also helps you slim down and boost your energy-a delicious strategy in every sense. While we all know you can buy a hybrid to cut your impact-you can also start eating like one. A 2005 study found that the typical American diet is responsible for emitting more greenhouse gases than the car you drive.
Here are Four Easy Ways to Step Into a Hybrid with you Diet, in a way that’s tasty for the whole family:
1. Go Vegetarian Until 5 pm.
Packing your diet with plants is one of the most powerful things you can do for your health AND to follow a more eco-friendly diet. According to the UN, livestock accounts for 18% of total GHG emissions worldwide, which is more than even transportation. And a 2008 study found that simply switching one day a week’s worth of red meat and dairy to vegetables will trim more carbon from your diet than buying all locally sourced food. An added bonus of going veg until 5 pm? Plant foods like beans, nuts, fruits and veggies will help you slim down quickly while still adding loads of volume to your plate.
2. Tap your Tap.
Stop hitting the bottle-the water bottle, that is. Bottled water uses about 2000x the resources of tap water, and isn’t regulated as tightly for purity and safety (that’s not to mention all those concerns about BPA and other contaminants leaching into warm bottled water). In 2007 alone, the annual consumption of bottled water in the U.S. required the equivalent of between 32 and 54 million barrels of oil. And most of us pay 3-5x as much for bottled water as we do for gasoline! Make the tap seem new: splash frozen summer berries, float cucumber and lemon slices, put mint and ginger sprigs in your brew to shake things up-while shrinking your footprint. Even a DIY seltzer machine is more eco-friendly than all that bottled bubbly H20.
3. Snack sustainably: Celebrate 1 ingredient foods.
Snacks are about 23% of a person’s calories, so it’s a key part of any hot mom’s weight and health strategy. But all those pre-portioned foods pack a few other punches-they often cost more (about 3x as much per ounce as portioning yourself from the regular size) and they gobble up lots more resources in all of that packaging.
Skip the 100 calorie snack packs-and make “health packs” instead. This will help slim your waist AND your waste. Ditch the processed snack foods and celebrate 1 ingredient foods. (e.g. Fruits, nuts, edamame, yogurt, olives). Find your favorite reusable small containers (for instance, recycle a 1 oz mint tin to stash almonds or pistachios). With summer here, it’s one of the easiest times all year to make this critical change. Real foods are the best path to real satiety, not to mention optimum nutrition for your kids!
4. Fire up a Greener Grill this Summer.
This summer, try U.S. Farm Raised barramundi (a delicious mild fish that’s a relative of Australian Perch) instead of salmon, a bison burger or a grilled portabello burger instead of a hamburger-for the ultimate in lean and green grilling. You’ll slash the carbon footprint and calorie load of the grill at the next family BBQ. (For some more exact savings, visit eatlowcarbon.com and see how much carbon your food choice is creating). Another plus: you’ll boost those heart healthy Omega 3s and antioxidants too by choosing grassfed game. Extra points if you add a heaping portion of local veggies brushed with olive oil on the side.
Kate is the author of Go Green, Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet (Rodale, 2009), a powerful program to help you look better, feel better, and leave a better world for your kids.