Sustainable eating — Simple steps for getting healthier and greening the planet

By Robin Robinson

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 3 2010 3:00 p.m. MDT

4. Pay more attention to labels. While it's awfully hard to read that fine print when conceptualizing dinner in the grocery store aisles midway between the office and the dinner table, it nevertheless pays to know what you're using to fuel your human engine. Value your long-term health enough to make conscious choices. Choose items with lower fat and sodium levels and with higher amounts of dietary fiber. Also, try to avoid purchasing items with corn or corn-based substances (corn oil, cornstarch or especially corn syrup) as main ingredients. For a quick and easy guide to reading food labels, check out www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/fns/nutritional/foodlabel.htm.

5. Add more nutrient-dense foods. The abundance and affordability of highly processed foods today make for dietary choices that are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor. Make it your business to find out which foods deliver the biggest bang for — almost invariably — the smallest buck. Dark leafy greens are high on the list. Ice cream and soda pop, sadly, rank near the bottom. For a guide to choosing foods with high nutrient density, check out the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index scoring system online at www.drfuhrman.com/library/article17.aspx, or visit your local health food market.

"The evidence is very clear that plants promote health," Bittman said. "Overconsumption of animals, and of course junk food, is the problem, along with our paltry consumption of plants. … Our demand for these things … drives us to consume way more calories than are good for us, and those calories are in foods that cause, not prevent, disease."

Harness the power of your own kitchen and shopping cart and make a difference with every choice you make.

As Michel Nischan, author of "Sustainably Delicious" said, "You really can be a hero one product at a time."

English graduate Robin Robinson is full-time mother of four, part-time editor and the author of two young adult books on the U.S. Civil War.

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