“Sustainability” is a term we hear in all aspects of our lives, and more and more frequently as it pertains to the food industry. But what is “sustainable food”? To put it simply, however, sustainable eating puts the focus on foods produced in a way that is beneficial for the environment, supports local communities and is humane to farmers, workers, and animals alike. We need to all take a time-out and ask ourselves how we can do our part to cook and eat in a way that will slow down the deterioration of the planet rather than speed it up.
For starters, here are six ways to eat more sustainably.
1. Eat more plants, less meat
Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and vast amounts of water and feed. You don’t have to go full-on vegan. Just reduce the amount of meat and dairy you eat by a little can make a big difference.
2. Avoid highly processed foods
Suppose a food product has been through many steps in manufacturing, with lots of ingredients coming from all corners of the world. In that case, the carbon footprint is higher for that product due to travelling, manufacturing, and distribution. Think a nutrition bar with a long list of ingredients vs a handful of nuts, which came from one source with minimal processing.
3. Pass on plastic
Plastic has infiltrated our natural world and even our diets. Bring a reusable bag when you shop, opt for packaging-free fruit and vegetables where possible.
4. Eat mindfully
One of the simplest things you can do to eat more sustainably is to practice mindful eating. Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and its health benefits. By paying closer attention to your hunger signals, you may learn that you don’t need as much food as you thought and resize your meals accordingly. By paying more attention to how we eat, we can alter our food consumption, reduce food waste, and become motivated to learn about sustainable food sources.
5. Make meal plans and a grocery list
Often, if you go to the grocery store hungry without a list, you’ll likely grab everything in sight or sounds good at the moment. To cut down on excess food waste (and cut down on how much you’re spending on food), buy what you need and nothing else. Take 20-30 minutes to plan meals out for the week and jot down a grocery list.
And by cooking at home, you’ll save money, feel healthier, and know you’re doing something good for your family and the earth!
6. Limit your number of grocery trips
While heading out to your favourite mall or grocery store may not be as harmful as you think, limiting the number of trips you make or buying from locations near you is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Try walking to your nearest supermarket for your groceries next time – it can be a fun way for you and your family to keep fit. If that’s not possible, try cycling or using public transport – it increases fuel efficiency and reduces pollution.
Many of us don’t take sustainability into account when considering what a healthy diet should look like. If we all were to implement just a few of the ideas and tips mentioned above, we could make a little go a long way towards protecting our planet for future generations. Picking sustainable food options and making a few minor modifications to your shopping habits can ensure that you’re eating ethically and responsibly to preserve the health of the planet for generations to come.
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