What sustainable eating really means. How to get started!
Did you know you could have a positive impact on the planet by changing the way you eat? The food you put on your plate goes hand in hand with sustainability because if you develop a healthy eating practice you will improve your health and benefit the planet (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2015). So, what exactly is sustainability? In this context is about the food choices you make for your health, for the community and the environment, building strong relationships, creating diverse ecosystems and getting healthier. It applies to the best techniques and practices used to produce the food we eat to help conserve our natural resources and to have a small change on the environment, allowing the production of healthy food that does not compromise future generations (Moores, S. 2017).
How to get started
Buy local: Try changing the way you shop, it does not have to be entirely but some days or for certain things. Support your community and the families that produce the food (Moores, S. 2017). Get to know your neighbour! This can be beneficial since you educate yourself on how the food is grown, harvested and learn how to cook it (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2015). Show support through your buying decisions. Fruits and vegetables are not all about the look, a weathered and dull-looking apple will taste just as good as a glossy red one.
Grow something: Appreciate what it takes to grow food on your own. Get to understand to make your plants thrive and enjoy them afterwards. From herbs in a pot to a tomato plant, try it and get an insight of the factors involved in the process of growing a plant, how you use it and how you dispose it. Empathize with the producers that grow the food you buy (Moores, S. 2017).
Season the reason: Eat fruits and veggies that are available in season and where you live. Support sustainability by getting seasonal food because most of the time fruit and veggies come from far and they are not fresh or ripe. (Moores, S. 2017). Check out this link to see which fruits and veggies grow each season!
Minimize meat: try it once a week and from there decrease gradually. Livestock production (meat, milk, eggs) uses one-third of the world’s fresh water supply, they require more food, water, land and energy than plants. Meat production and transportation is one of the substantial contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
This has a big impact. Reduce your shopping expenses; try getting your protein from nuts and vegetables that are very healthy, nutritious and less expensive (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Reusable cup: Drink water or your morning coffee in your reusable mug, cup, refillable bottle, this has one of the biggest impacts and it can generate a big change. (Moores, S. 2017). No straw! According to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK uses an estimated of 8.5 billion straws a year that goes to the ocean (Heartley-Parkinson, R., 2018)!
Grocery shaping: plan your meals for the week; do not overbuy (GRACE Communication Foundation, 2018). Reduce the amount of packaging and waste that gets to your home. Think bulk foods, less processed foods and meals that include more greens. It is healthier and it translates to less energy used to process a meal, less artificial ingredients, less chemicals getting to your body. (Moores, S. 2017).
Cook more: try getting less processed food as most of it goes to waste (up to 30%) and it does no good to your health; if time is what you lack, cook big amounts of food and freeze the leftovers for your lunch or when needed. Pay more attention towards what you eat and reduce food waste, encourage yourself to look out for more sustainable food options (GRACE Communication Foundation, 2018). Motivate yourself and start a healthy and sustainable way of eating. Every little step adds up. Oh... and stay active!