Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health
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About The Buzz: Eating Fruits & Veggies Is Good For The Environment?


Reducing your consumption of animal products could yield benefits for your health and the environment.


As a nation, we eat a lot of meat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, each American consumes around 271 pounds of meat per year.1 The world average per person is 102.5 pounds. Livestock production involves growing grain to feed livestock, whereas plant foods for human consumption can be produced on far less land. This more efficient production of food produces less greenhouse gas emissions, which leaves a smaller environmental footprint.


In a study on diet and its impact on the environment and health outcomes from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers compared meat-based diets to plant-based diets to understand how they differ.2 Here are the findings …

Meat-Based vs Plant-Based Diets

  1. Vegetarian and semi-vegetarian diets benefit the climate. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions were 29% lower for vegetarians and 22% for semi-vegetarians compared to meat eaters.
  2. Vegetarians eat more veggies! Plant-based foods comprised 91% of total calories for vegetarians, compared to 77% for meat eaters.
  3. The mortality rate for meat eaters was 20% higher than that for vegetarians and semi-vegetarians.


Research has consistently shown that in addition to climate benefits, meat-based diets are linked with poor health outcomes, while plant-based diets have positive impacts on health and life expectancy.

If you’re interested in ways to eat more produce to reduce your environmental footprint and create a healthy diet for yourself and your family, check out these suggestions …

5 Ways Reduce Your Environmental Footprint with Fruits & Veggies

  1. Eat More Fruits & Veggies. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies every time you eat a snack or meal.
  2. Learn! Check out our Quick Guide to Getting More Fruits & Veggies.
  3. Buy Local. To purchase food grown closer to home, find a farmer’s market near you.
  4. Grow Your Own. Check out our Vegetable Garden How-To Guide.
  5. Shop Seasonally! Buying seasonal produce reduces the cost of feeding your family.


1 Barclay, E. (2012). “A Nation Of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up.” NPR. View Article
2 Soret, S., A. Mejia, M. Batech, et al (2014). “Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(1), 490-495. View Abstract

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