No matter what, do not miss that snack. It's important because it boosts metabolism and balances blood sugar. The lower you keep your blood sugar, the lower you keep your insulin, and insulin makes you store fat around your middle. Eating every three to four hours will keep your blood sugar even, but many people tend to go five or six hours between lunch and dinner without eating."
–Natasha Turner, naturopathic doctor, author of The Hormone Diet
5 Best Protein Choices for the Environment
On the abbreviated top 10 list, milk came in with the lowest carbon footprint (lentils were lowest on the list of 20). However, the EWG looked at the carbon footprint of 4 ounces of milk—that’s only half a serving. So a full cup would be twice as high.
What you can do: Look for milk from local dairies, which should cut some of the carbon footprint caused by shipping. Milk from organic and grass-fed cows will also cut down on some of the carbon emissions caused by raising cattle, suggests the EWG, while delivering the added bonus of extra omega-3s and no growth hormones.
Beans are a smart protein choice. They give you fiber and healthy nutrients, such as folate and iron, and are very low in saturated fat. They’re also one of the best choices for the planet. Unlike animal-based proteins, beans have fewer carbon inputs and outputs (with animal proteins, growing crops just to feed the animals significantly adds to their carbon footprint).
What you can do: Eat beans more often! If you want beans with the lowest carbon footprint, buy them dried, which skips the extra step of processing them.
Tofu’s carbon footprint (roughly one-third that of beef) largely comes from growing the soybeans and then processing it into tofu.
What you can do: Tofu is a great choice, but keep in mind that if the label doesn’t say it is 100% USDA Certified Organic or non-GMO, there is a good chance it was made from genetically modified soybeans.
Feeding chickens, and the energy used on poultry farms, adds to the carbon footprint of eggs. But as far as animal proteins go, eggs’ carbon footprint is relatively low. In addition to protein, eggs give you some vitamin D and lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for eye health. Although eggs contain some saturated fat and cholesterol, eating one a day shouldn’t raise your cholesterol levels.
What you can do: For the lowest carbon footprint, the EWG recommends opting for organic and pastured eggs, from chickens that are given organic feed and are allowed to run around.
Chicken is the best meat choice, but on the full list of 20 foods, chicken ranks 6th meaning that its carbon footprint is still higher than plant foods and tuna. From an environmental and health perspective, though, eating chicken is better than eating beef.
What you can do: Choose chicken more often than beef, pork or lamb. As with eggs, the EWG recommends choosing chicken that is organic and/or pastured.