By Carin Clegg, Accredited Practising Dietitian
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a client or parent mention to me that when they or their kids have a celebration there is too much ‘junk’ aka discretionary or sometimes food choices, I would be a kajillionaire! It just seems like everyone is trying to be healthy but somehow at these ‘special’ times going overboard is the norm.
Not only are these foods not good for our bodies with little nutrients and increase our risk of chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease and cancer but they are not good for our planet when it come to the amount of processing, transportation, packaging relating to the greenhouse gas emissions, water used and toxic waste generated.
When we are trying to reduce our eco footprint the first best thing is to eat only what our body needs and minimise over-indulging in foods our bodies do not need.
Celebration times are a great opportunity to help your family and circle of friends be healthy, try some new foods and look after the planet. When people have been role modelling eating planet friendly foods these foods may be more easily accepted at home by the other members of the family who may be a bit hesitant to try those veggie patties or hommus dips and vegetable sticks.
Here are my 5 Top Ideas to host a Planet Friendly Party that will help everyone keep healthy too.
1. Plan not to over cater too much for food. Think about the last event you hosted, how many people and how much food was consumed, then adjust how much you prepare and purchase accordingly.
2. Choose fresh wholesome foods, minimally packed foods as much as possible. You could even shop at your local wholefood store. Think of easy to make home made dips and veggie sticks, bowls of nuts or trail mix, pop corn or roasted legumes for nibbles. To accompany dessert, serve a fruit platter.
3. Choose to reuse cutlery and crockery. Ask family and friends to borrow if you need or check out the Party Kit Network. You may need to ask for a few kitchen helpers for the washing up but many hands make light work and most people do not mind helping out.
4. Manage waste:
Tell your guests how to dispose of waste such as what goes in to the compost bin, worm farm, how to recycle right and what goes to the landfill bin. Signs work really well. Also arrange for leftover to be taken home to be eaten by asking people to bring a container.
5. Reduce the amount of ‘sometimes foods’ being brought by others. Ask people to bring specific food items and tell people why you do not want an excess of ‘sometimes foods’. Here are some suggestions I have heard from families:
- kids go hyperactive, feel sick, it is not good for them when they have too much ‘sometimes foods’
- there is a history of diabetes in the family and it is important to keep healthy habits even at special occasions as we have so many celebrations now
- the cake is the treat for the party
- we want to limit food waste and plastic packaging with our zero waste lifestyle/ household.
- most people attending are trying to be healthy too and it is important we look after our guests.
This Plastic Free July join me to make a healthy difference when it comes to celebrations and tread lightly on our Mother Earth. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with Partying Fro The Planet in the title to receive your free copy of Partying For the Planet E-book to celebrate Plastic Free July!