3 Options for Healthy, Conscious Food Choices
As we become more aware aware of the impacts our consumer choices have on the environment, many of us resolve to be more conscious about the food we buy, ensuring it’s healthier for our bodies and more sustainable for the planet. If becoming more conscious about your food choices is one of your top priorities, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few examples of Alberta farmed food that you can feel good about for their contribution to the environment, their ethical treatment of animals and their nutritional value.
Part of the legume family, pulses include peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils. Grown across Alberta, pulses are a popular plant-based source of protein. They are known as a heart healthy food choice because they are low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol-free and high in soluble fibre. In fact, according to Alberta Pulse Growers, eating pulses can actually lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and help with weight management, which are all risk factors for heart disease.
Did you know that growing pulses is actually a unique way that farmers can provide healthy crops and reduce their impact on the environment? In fact, pulses are considered a low carbon footprint food because of the unique benefits they bring to the soil and the land, and their efficient use of water.
Chicken is perhaps one of the most popular high quality meat proteins that so many of us include in our regular meal rotation. This could be because of how versatile it is in preparing meals, but also because of chicken’s many health benefits. The dark meat of a chicken is very high in good nutrients and vitamins, such as B-vitamins, iron and zinc. While the white meat of chicken is lower in fat and high in protein.
But did you know that having the best quality product starts by ensuring the bird is healthy
and has a good life. Because of this, the industry is extremely conscious about the health, safety and good living conditions of the birds. Much of this begins with a having a high quality biosecurity program in place that keeps disease out of the barn and ensuring lower stress levels so the birds do not get sick easily. Farmers also add probiotics in chicken feed to improve their gut health. Since most poultry diseases are gut infections, farmers work to maintain optimal gut health of their birds.
Be assured that when you’re choosing Alberta produced chicken that you’re receiving high quality, nutritious product from farmers that have taken good care of their birds.
We know healthy fats are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, and Canola Oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are important for providing energy and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. According to Alberta Canola Producers, canola oil is the world’s healthiest cooking oil because it offers the best blend of fats for good health and it is low in saturated fat (only 7%).
Did you also know that the Canola industry has a low carbon footprint? Tillage practices encourage minimal soil disturbance that increases soil health as well as soil carbon capture and storage. And, of course, we can’t forget about protection for the bee population. Canola farmers understand the importance of pollinators in the canola industry as they support higher crop yields and better ripening, and encourage a healthier environment. Because of this, they work closely with beekeepers to ensure their practices are protecting pollinators.
As you work on making more conscious food choices this year, try introducing some of these locally sourced ingredients into your meals—you can be assured you’re doing good for your body and for the planet!
The views expressed in this document are those of Taste Alberta and do not necessarily reflect the provincial and federal governments.