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Eco food: Eat to save the world

GettyImages 91805522Healthy eating has just gone one step further. You can now eat to benefit not only your own health, but that of the planet, too!

The food you eat has a direct impact on your health. Simple enough. But can it also have an impact on the wellbeing of the planet? The new healthy eating plan from WWF (formerly World Wildlife Fund) aims to help you become a more eco-friendly consumer and understand how the food you eat – including how it’s grown, produced and imported – has a massive impact on the environment. For example, the cultivation of soya (mainly fed to livestock) and palm oil (used in many processed foods) are key causes of deforestation in South America and South-East Asia, slowly destroying the habitats of many animals.  

WWF’s Livewell 2020 has a simple message – if we all adapt our diets a little, we can not only make a positive difference to our health but to nature, too. Its healthy eating plan is based on five principles:

  • Eat more plants. When it comes to vegetables and fruit, the campaign urges us to buy seasonal and local.
  • Waste less food. Shockingly, up to 30% of the food we buy is thrown away.
  • Eat less meat. A nourishing meal doesn’t have to have meat at its centre. Change your mindset and start thinking of meat as a complement to vegetables.
  • Eat less processed foods. These tend to be produced using a lot of precious resources, plus they contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar.
  • Buy sustainable foods. Certification schemes ensure what you buy comes from well-managed and sustainable sources. For example, seek out fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

How to Livewell
The scheme provides a weekly shopping list and menu which shows you how to eat to meet the 2020 carbon dioxide reduction targets, set out in 2008’s UK Climate Change Act. The food we eat is responsible for 30% of the UK greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it a major contributor to climate change.

And don’t worry – the menu is realistic and varied – you can even have chocolate! Go to

Could you eat this tomorrow?
Here’s just one day’s menu from  the weekly Livewell eating plan. It all sounds pretty tasty to us…


  • Wholegrain/high fibre cereal and semi-skimmed milk
  • Fruit juice


  • Carrot and butterbean soup
  • Ham and cream cheese bagel


  • Macaroni cheese with salad
  • Sponge/cereal pudding


  • Chocolate bar
  • Fruit
  • Small packet of nuts
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk for tea and coffee
  • 1tsp sugar (in tea, coffee or on cereal)

This article was first published in at home with Marco Pierre White in October 2011. [Read the digital edition here]

 Image: Getty

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