Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trim Your Waste

Was the last fruit you ate stuffed into a piece of pie? Can you even remember the last time you ate a vegetable? Does your empty refrigerator echo back the growl of your stomach?
Instead of reaching for another chip or ready-made meal to quell your hunger, fill your body with whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables. This will not only make your mother stop nagging you about what you ate, but it is also better for your body and the environment.
Packaged foods are often heavily processed, which means they take more energy and ingredients to create and ship. The average grocery store item travels 1,500 miles before it’s in your cart.
The packaging itself is typically not recyclable and ends up going straight to the landfill, and if part of the packaging is recyclable, like the box of your Oreo cookies, the bag and container inside are not. 
Whole foods are better for you than their processed counterparts. Many packaged foods are overloaded with sugar, sodium and calories. High-fructose corn syrup and other sugars tax your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar and often add unnecessary calories. 
Processed foods are also full of preservatives that may help them last longer, but don’t provide any nutritional benefit. 
I know that it’s week seven and no one has time cook an elaborate meal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables you eat. 
With the Farmer’s Market every Saturday in Franklin Square, fresh produce is easy to find. Stocking up on fruits and vegetables once a week will prevent midweek hunger catastrophes and save you time. 
Prepare all of your produce for the week as soon as you get home.Cut up fruits to add to your breakfast or take on the go. Prepare salads for the week or cut your vegetables so they are ready to cook. Spending the extra 30 minutes right away will make it much easier to grab a fresh snack on the way to class or to throw together a quick meal.
When you have some extra time to cook, make a big meal and freeze your leftovers. Making your own frozen meals is not only cheaper than the store-bought alternatives, but it is also usually healthier and cuts down on packaging. 
It’s time to drop the ramen and do yourself and the environment a favor. You might even lose a few extra pounds and cut down on the size of your waste.
This article originally ran in The Santa Clara.

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