1. Lentils: Eat These Often
The most climate-friendly protein. EatingWell’s Nutrition Editors love lentils because they deliver fiber and nutrients, such as iron and folate.
The Best Protein Choices and Worst for Your Health and the Environment
2. Tomatoes: Eat These Often
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help ward off disease. They’re low in fat and calories and give you fiber and important micronutrients. But, EatingWell’s Nutrition Editors note, they don’t provide much protein (1 gram per tomato), so also make sure to include higher protein sources in your diet.
18. Cheese: Eat This Less
Stick to a single serving (1.5 ounces for hard cheese)—plus using a sharply flavored cheese can help you get the maximum impact for less. The EWG also recommends choosing organic and low-fat cheese, when possible. EWG lists cheese as the 3rd worst protein choice in part because they looked at 4 ounces of cheese—that’s almost three 1.5-ounce servings!
19. Beef: Eat This Less
Look for grass-fed and organic. Although pricier than conventional, it’s a healthier choice for you and the environment. Grass-fed beef is richer in heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Plus, organic, grass-fed cattle are raised in a way that minimizes the carbon emissions from manure. The EWG also recommends avoiding processed beef products, such as sausage.
Part of HuffPost Food Group
When it comes to your health and the environment, what are the best protein sources and which are the worst? The Environmental Working Group (EWG, ewg.org) offers a “Meat Eaters Guide,” which looks at the environmental impact of 20 conventionally-grown protein sources, including beans, dairy, produce, meat and poultry. To determine the rankings EWG evaluated the carbon impact of the food’s full “lifecycle”—including water and fertilizer used to grow crops, transportation and even the amount of food that’s wasted. Why should you care? Your personal health and the environmental impact. The biggest take away: eat less meat and avoid wasting it. Read on for the list, starting with the best protein choice and building to the worst protein choice.
Check out the slideshow above to learn what proteins are best (and worst) for you and the world around you.