A sustainable diet focused on whole foods, seasonal and local ingredients, and minimally processed foods increases overall nutritional adequacy. There is an increased nutrient concentration (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals) of food products. It encourages diversity of food choices by adding seasonal variations and more variety of colour (nutrients) on the plate.
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Here are some tips for planning delicious sustainable meals for the entire family:
- Plan more plant-based meals. Buy and cook with more plant-based ingredients, and less meat and dairy products. Swapping meat for beans is a great way to promote sustainability in all four dimensions: economic, sociocultural, planetary, and nutrition.
- Portion size is the key. Blend meat with vegetables and plant proteins in bowls.
- Try to avoid food waste as much as possible. On your plate take only what is needed and take a second portion only if required! Actions from using smaller plates and bowls to avoiding dining hall trays and all-you-can-eat buffets will also help reduce food waste.
- A sustainable diet is a calorie-balanced diet mainly based on foods of plant origin that would allow the attainment of 60% of daily caloric requirements and a low protein intake from animal foods (focusing on fish and poultry) could significantly reduce global morbi-mortality.
- Plan family meals that fit the budget. Before making healthful meal suggestions, it's important to identify access to affordable meals. It's essential to work around food availability and family budget.
- Plan your meals ahead. Prepping meals is helpful- sauteing vegetables (beans, cauliflower and broccoli) or cooking a batch of beans and grains.
- Plan family meals that fit the budget. Before making healthful meal suggestions, it's important to identify access to affordable. It's essential to work around food availability and their budget.
- Eat naturally available food -Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein foods and Dairy. Always prefer foods that are locally/seasonably available.
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These steps will help you get a higher intake of fresh, whole, produce, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and quality proteins, helping meet dietary recommendations for 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of whole fruit each day.
About the authors: Dr Latha Sashi, Chief Nutritionist and Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and
Priyadarshini, Dietician, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Fernandez Hospital