When I first came to live in the U.S. for a year in 2006, I remembered living with my American host family who had been eating carnivorously: every meal is roughly 50% meat, 30% carbs, and 20% vegetables. Protein and carbs are main components of each dish, with veggie as just a side thought.
However, when I came to live in the U.S. again in 2015, food trends had changed drastically from. America was no longer a nation of primarily junk food. People have become more health-conscious, particularly about what they eat. Real, whole foods and a more balanced diet are increasingly popular among consumers’ choices.
This shift in food thinking is not only about how we eat, but about how we change our lifestyle, buying, cooking, and dining choices. This is a great news to hear as we are shifting toward eating better. Specifically, consumers are paying attention to eating more greens, and not primarily meat. In fact, statistics show that many segments of the population have increased fruit and vegetable consumption by at least 5% since 2004.
Besides the obvious tremendous benefits to health, below are three reasons why consuming vegetables are great for other causes.
Economic: How eating veggies helps our economy
Did you know that eating vegetables can help our country’s economy? Everyone knows vitamins and nutrients from greens are good for your body, help in weight loss, prevent disease, and so on and so forth.
Since the U.S. has very high per-capita health-care cost, eating more vegetables strengthens our health and prevent diseases, which can reduce the nation’s healthcare expenses. According to a 2013 UCS report, the $11 Trillion Dollar Reward, if people consume more fruits and vegetables, we could save $17 billion in health care costs from heart disease each year.
Eating more vegetable keeps us healthy and reduces healthcare costs.
Another study shows the negative effect on the economy from meat-based consumption. Lauren Davis who wrote The Economic Case for Worldwide Vegetarianism cited a study which estimated that if people continue to follow current trends of meat consumption- rather than shifting to a more balanced or plant-based diet- it could cost the U.S. between $197 billion and $289 billion each year by 2050. Conversely, the economy will benefit from reduced healthcare costs if we eat more greens and will suffer from higher healthcare costs if we eat more meat.
Environmental: How eating veggies helps our planet
Farming of animals for food produces carbon emissions and waste which are costly to dispose. In the article Why Eating More Vegetables is Good for the Environment, meat is said to provide 17% of global caloric intake, but it requires a disproportionate amount of water and feed.
Moreover, livestock farming is responsible for 8% - 18% of global emissions—about as much pollution that comes from cars. As a result, besides healthcare cost, the U.S. will benefit from environmental savings if Americans eat less meat and more vegetables.
Animal farming contributes to carbon emissions and waste.
Economical: How eating veggies saves our purse
The economical impact of eating more vegetables is so significant, we added another paragraph about it.
Contrary to common sense, cheap eats are not necessarily unhealthy. You can cut on food costs by incorporating some of the healthiest foods from your supermarket such as grains, vegetables, and beans.
A variety of greens or leafy vegetables are cheap as well. For example, fresh bagged spinach- a great addition to your lunch salads, soups, and pasta dishes- sells for about $1.99. Moreover, for certain types of vegetables that are high in fiber you get fuller faster when you eat more them.
Talk about nutrition on the cheap!
Many green leaves such as spinach are cheap food options that pack nutrients.
We at Rootastes believe in eating healthy, quality food in a balanced food group proportion. We are glad to see food trends among American consumers shift toward the path for the better. Besides nutrition benefits, eating more vegetable is great for the economy, environment, and our purses are well. Talk about winning.
For ideas on how to incorporate vegetable and spice up your lunch menu, check out Reinventing the Salad: How To Make It a Meal You Look Forward To.
Bee is a food and environmental lover currently living in Boston. While studying in Boston, she discovered her passion in developing a healthy lifestyle: a balance of diet, exercise, and mind&body rest. She loves cooking, running, and traveling around scenic and natural sites.