Blog: Low Carbon Diet

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Containing a blend of aromatic spices, these baked croquettes are a delicious, nutritious, and low carbon replacement to meat or cheese-based varieties. Serves 4.

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While fruits and vegetables are almost all nutritious for our bodies, they are not all equally beneficial for maintaining and improving the health of the environment. Here are some suggestions for what to do about foods that are nutritious, but also have a high carbon footprint making them less healthy for the earth.

D’anjou Pear Streusel. Tender bites of pear and juicy pieces of blackberry are irresistible with a streusel topping. Try local varieties of pear, if available, for a fresher, more robust flavor.

Cajun Tofu Burger. Spice up your meat-free barbecue options and impress your vegetarian friends. Makes 6 to 8 burgers.

Food can be a terrific vehicle to use for educating people about complex topics, and luckily, I work for a company that has an army of chefs who enjoy just this kind of challenge. Bon Appétit was the first food service company to address food’s role in climate change, and every year around Earth Day, our chefs change their menus and explain to their diners at corporations, colleges and universities, and museums in 32 states how their every day food choices affect our planet. For Earth Day today, we’re doing something a little different. Our chefs are standing in front of guests at a cooking demonstration table, making almond-milk-fruit smoothies, cheeseless pizzas, and edamame burgers with carrot peel toppings. They’re talking about how climate change isn’t just this storm gathering way down the road, it’s here and it’s affecting some of our favorite foods.

In the United States, 40% of food goes uneaten. Just so we’re clear, that’s nearly half. Yet one in every six Americans lacks a secure supply of food. Waste is happening at every part of the supply chain: thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables are being left in the fields to rot, blemished produce are being tossed at our supermarkets, restaurants are dumping perfectly good leftovers, and consumers are letting food waste away in their refrigerators. Clearly, we have a problem.

The drought that struck the United States this year stunted growth of field corn and soy, and as a result, 2013 will be the first time in 38 years where annual beef, pork, and chicken output all decline. We need a resilient food system that can cope with a changing climate and unpredictable conditions such as this drought. How are we going to get there?