Today, we all try our best to eat healthy on a regular basis, but eating nutritious food doesn’t necessarily mean we’re also eating sustainably. It’s just as important to ask about the sustainability of our eating habits as it is to wonder whether we’re maintaining a balanced diet. Fortunately, you don’t have to do anything too difficult to eat more sustainably. All it takes is a few small adjustments in your diet to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet. More than anything, it just takes a little more awareness. Here are 5 ways you can make your eating habits more sustainable.
Buy seasonal produce: Seasonal produce doesn’t need as much artificial help in growing, so you’ll find less pesticides and chemicals. Eating seasonally also means you can avoid eating foods that have been shipped from other countries, which cuts down on food mileage and reduces our carbon footprint. If you’re not sure what’s in season at the moment, take time to go to your local farmer’s market. You’ll see firsthand what’s seasonal, and you’ll also support local growers at the same time.
Cut down on animal products: Even if you don’t commit to living a vegan lifestyle, you can make a big difference by eating only plant-based foods a couple days each week. By limiting your consumption of animal products, you leave more fresh water available on earth, reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere, and save land from being taken over for animal agriculture. Minor adjustments to our diets can make a big difference.
Compost your waste: We’ve always been told not to waste food, so instead of tossing out food scraps into your household garbage, try composting. Even if you don’t have a garden where the compost can be used, there are plenty of places that will benefit from compost. You’ll reduce costs of waste collection, decrease your carbon footprint and keep your leftovers out of landfills.
Shop in bulk: Get a membership to Costco or another store that sells in bulk and start buying items that are packaged in bulk. You won’t waste as much packaging and the food you get will have required less transportation to get to you. Plus, you’d save some money, too.
Eat less processed/packaged foods: Fruits, vegetables, and nuts take up a very small percent of America’s crop acreage, while a much higher percent is devoted to cereal grains that are harvested for packaged foods and edible oils. The less processed and packaged foods we eat, the less demand there will be for such products, and hopefully we’ll start to see more land set aside for growing fresh produce that will improve our health.
Changing your eating habits to be more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by asking questions about where your food is coming from, how it is being grown and how it affects the environment.