Eco-Friendly, Healthy Snacking
By Jalin Abston
There are many causes that affect only a small population, but climate change is an issue that affects every living being. I consider myself to be eco-conscious and a new addition to environmental activism. Although, I am a work in progress. In those inevitable moments when I use plastic, I make sure I recycle it. Sometimes ‘spur-of-the-moment’ trips to the grocery store make me leave behind my reusable shopping bags. It is my goal to never contribute to a mass of plastic bags under a kitchen sink, ever again.
While on this journey of living an eco-friendly lifestyle I turn to seasoned environmental activists in my community for guidance and help to committing to a plastic-free life. Located in Williamsburg, the Package Free Shop and an attorney turned dietitian and sustainability expert, Abby K. Cannon, JD, RD, CDN of Abby’s Food Court started off the Snack Naked event with one simple question:
“Why are we eating snacks wrapped in plastic packaging instead of real, whole foods in their natural forms?”
Abby's Snack Naked philosophy highlights the health and environmental benefits of snacking on foods that are package free. She taught us how to make healthy snacks, what ingredients should we avoid, and how can we protect ourselves from the toxins in the plastic packaging.
Abby walked us through on how to make delicious and nutritious snacks to enjoy throughout the week. Beyond snacking on fresh fruits, we were able to make our own customizable trail mixes, energy balls and sweet/savory parfaits free of added sugars and unnecessary ingredients.
The United States recycles only nine percent of its plastic trash. Out of the 4000 chemicals approved to be in food packaging, only about 1000 have been evaluated for their health risks. Try participating in bulk purchasing where you can bring your own plastic-free containers to store. When you are ready to take your favorite snacks with you on-the-go, use reusable pocket-size silicone bags.
Abby left us all with her top tips on how to incorporate budget-friendly, sustainable options to your everyday life:
Use a reusable water bottle and water filters.
Take reusable bamboo silverware with you when you go out to eat.
Replace plastic straws with reusable, metal straws.
Avoid using plastic bags when shopping by carrying eco-friendly bags.
Swap out your plastic containers for glass jars - these can be used for food, snacks AND beverages!
Nearly 40 percent of plastics produced for packaging are used once then discarded. Many name-brand snack companies continue to rely on these harmful plastics to package their foods and snacks.
Creating your own snacks is not only cost efficient but also helps limit waste created from plastic packaging and the product itself. It is important for us to take advantage of our ability to control what food and snacks we consume on the daily.