Sometimes in the most eco-conscious families, eating sustainably might not be something you make part of your daily routine. Even when your family eats a healthy, nutritious diet, that doesn’t mean that it’s eco-friendly at the same time.
Many of the issues that the planet is suffering from are related to food production and the overall food industry. Sure, you may want to occasionally splurge on something like Swiggy food delivery, but if your goal is to eat eco-friendly more often than not, what should you consider and how can you make that happen? The following are some tips any family can incorporate into their routines for more sustainable eating.
Use Seasonal Produce
Whenever possible, try to buy produce that’s in season. When you buy items in season, it’s more likely that it came from local farmers and producers. Produce that isn’t in season where you live locally but that’s still available is usually shipped from overseas.
When items are shipped from abroad, you’re not only not supporting local farmers, but you’re also eating something that required a much larger carbon footprint to reach you.
When produce is seasonal, it also means it didn’t require as many artificial methods to help it along the way as it was growing
Consume Fewer Animal Products
Some people decide to eat vegan because of health reasons, or personal reasons, but there’s another reason to consider eating vegan or at least cutting down on some of the animal products you consume.
You significantly cut down your carbon footprint, because it requires a great deal more resources to produce animal products. The consumption of red meat is actually one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and the U.S. has the highest level of red meat consumption per capita.
This doesn’t mean you have to eat vegan every day, but even just choosing one day a week to eat vegan can go a long way in helping sustain the planet.
If you feel a vegan diet isn’t right for you, think instead about a Mediterranean diet which focuses primarily on plant foods and very little red meat. Also, if you are eating meat products, try to buy them locally as much as possible.
Be Careful of Seafood
Some seafood is better than other types in terms of being sustainable and also safe and healthy to eat. Some of the best seafood choices are those items that are caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to their habitats. Some of the best sustainable seafood choices include oysters, clams, mussels, and albacore tuna. Some of the seafood that should be avoided include Atlantic cod, haddock, monkfish, tropical prawns and tuna.
Make More Items at Home
It may not be more convenient, but it is more sustainable and can also be cheaper to make certain items on your own, rather than buying packaged and processed versions. For example, maybe think about making your own bread or baked goods. The benefit of this is that first you can choose all of the items going into what you make, but there’s also less overall transportation required which can contribute to your carbon footprint. You’re also not throwing away a lot of food packaging.
Along similar lines, shop for bulk items whenever you can. For example, if you can buy things like nuts, grains, and spices from the bulk area of your local market, you’re cutting down on packaging. It’s also less expensive to buy things this way.
Grow Your Own
One of the very best things you can do to eat more sustainably is to grow your own. Even if you live in an urban area, start small and grow things like herbs or whatever you can fit in a potted container. Just taking small steps can help you and your family be more sustainable in the things you eat.
If growing your own food isn’t an option at all, try to connect with a local farmer in your area. There has been a rise in the popularity of small farms once again in the U.S. If you can build a relationship with a farmer, you’ll be able to have access to fresh, sustainably grown produce and other items, and you’ll be helping the local economy as well.
Finally, above all else, if your goal is eating more sustainably try to cut out packaged and processed foods as much as possible. The things that go into creating, packing and transporting packaged foods are some of the worst in terms of sustainability.