The European Meal Plan You Should Try

Six simple ideas can help you make healthy food choices for you and the environment.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What you eat makes a difference not just for your health, but the health of the planet. This idea is central to Livewell 2020: a diet proposed by the World Wildlife Fund to help reduce greenhouse emissions and support Europe’s climate-change targets. Although this plan hasn’t made waves stateside, we in America could learn a thing or two from these six principles and help make ourselves — and our planet — healthier:

  1. Eat more plants: That means vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Producing plant foods tends to create fewer carbon emissions than meat.
  1. Eat a variety of foods: It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but keeping a diversified plate is good for you. When it comes to plant foods, eat a variety of colors and eat with the seasons.
  1. Waste less food: Plan for leftovers and don’t overbuy perishable foods. As the WWF points out, one-third of food is lost or wasted.
  1. Moderate your meat consumption, both red and white: Animal proteins can have their place in a healthy diet, but they have a higher carbon impact. One way to eat less meat and poultry is to add other types of proteins to your meals: Beans, nuts and peas are all good plant proteins.
  1. Buy food that meets a credible certified standard: There are a number of standards out there, from fair trade to certified humane. Buying food that’s been monitored and certified by a third-party organization can help you make better choices.
  1. Eat fewer foods high in fat, salt and sugar: This one’s a no-brainer for your health. There’s increasing evidence to show that eating too many sweets, fried foods and cured meats is bad for us. And these foods are frequently ones that have been more heavily processed — meaning they’ve had a longer time in the supply chain (not exactly the most eco-friendly situation).

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

Next Up

Essential Healthy Lunchbox Meal Plan

Here are five days of kid-friendly, well-balanced meals to keep your little ones going strong all day.

Should You Try J.Lo’s #NoSugarNoCarb Challenge?

We asked a registered dietitian to weigh in.

Meal Delivery Plans: The Pros & Cons

There are many prepared meal delivery services -- like eDiets and NutriSystem -- available. Some are part of dieting plans, others are more fresh, gourmet fare, and most are all about convenience and iving by a set meal plan. Check out our pros and cons and what you should be asking to get the healthiest fare.

A Week of My Whole30 Meal Prep Plan

The easiest way to make it through a month of clean eating? Start with a plan.

6 Vegan and Lactose-Free Cheeses Everyone Should Try

These vegan cheddar, mozzarella and gouda cheeses rival the real thing!

What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms and Should You Try Them?

These functional fungi are making their way into food and beverage products. Here's what you should know before giving them a try.

12 Super-Popular Instant Ramen Noodles You Should Try

There’s so much more to the aisle than Cup Noodles.

Healthy Meal Plans to Kick Off the New Year

Conquer your low-carb or plant-based diet with these easy guidelines and grocery lists.

Healthy Debate: Should Happy Meal Toys Be Banned?

Whoever came up with the marketing for Happy Meals toys is a genius. Kids are drawn to popular characters and love their trinkets ( more than the food). But with this type of marketing comes a price—especially when you’re talking about high fat and calorie-laden food during a time where tremendous efforts are being put forth to diminish the incidence of childhood obesity.

QUIZ: Where Should You Travel for Your Next Meal?

If you're getting tired of the Italian place down the street, take the quiz below to find out which food-filled city will be your ultimate destination for dinner.

Related Pages