Eating Sustainably – A Beginner’s Guide

Our global population is growing by around 81 million people every year - and all those extra people need to eat. So every year we need to produce more food. The trouble is, some of the irresponsible ways we produce and waste food are having a huge impact on the world around us.

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Eating sustainably is a solution to the problem – with a few simple changes to the way we shop and eat, we can cut our carbon footprints, reduce waste, and live in a healthier and greener way. 

So here are our five top tips to more ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly eating:

Eat Less Meat 

The way we’re eating meat isn’t sustainable. As things stand, the meat and dairy industries are massively polluting our planet’s air and water with badly managed waste that gives off powerful methane gases. You can reduce your carbon footprint more if you stop eating beef for a year, than if you give up driving a fuel-guzzling 4X4. If you do eat meat, avoid factory farmed options and look for local, sustainably and ethically reared organic options. Or you could even cut out meat and dairy altogether – it’s getting easier and easier to manage a healthy vegan diet.

Eat Local, Seasonal Produce

Food miles are one part of the carbon footprint of food. While it is definitely not the only factor, we can all cut our carbon footprints significantly by eating local food, when it’s in season, rather than importing food from abroad. Support your local farmers and grow some of your own food at home. 

Choose Certified Organic Options

Pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilisers used in non-organic food production cause immense harm to people, wildlife and ecosystems. If you’re keen to eat more ethically and sustainably, it’s important to source certified organic options. Look for organic labels – if it doesn’t say it’s organic, it probably isn’t. 

Buy Direct From Producers

If they’re not well-regulated, supermarkets and middle-men put a lot of pressure on food producers and skim off most of the profits: this forces farmers to look for ways to cut costs that may not be sustainable.  As a consumer, one of the best things you can do to support progress in agriculture is to find sustainable farmers and support them by buying direct. Just switch your supermarket trips to veg boxes, farm shops or farmers’ markets in your area. 

Cut Down on Heavily Processed and Packaged Foods

For the planet’s health, as well as your own, keep an eye on how many heavily processed and packaged foods you’re buying. Switch to fresh, local, organic, seasonal ingredients and cook your own meals from scratch if you can. It’s a great way to start bringing about change and will dramatically reduce the unnecessary plastic packaging you put into your recycling bins. Make it part of your aim for zero waste.

So that’s the top five tips but to get really serious about sustainable eating we’ve got two other good tricks up our sleeve:

1. Make a good old-fashioned SHOPPING LIST

If you want to buy less, consume less and waste less, one trick is to menu plan: write your list and stick to it when you shop. If you know what you’re going to eat over a week or a fortnight you can buy exactly what you need – no more, no less. (And don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry because you’ll impulse buy!)

2. Use Leftovers, Reduce Waste

Once you start menu-planning, you can get creative about how you use your leftovers so the ingredients you use for one meal can be used for the next. Save any leftover veg over a few days and whizz it all up into a healthy soup. The more food you use up, the less you waste and… here’s another really good bit… the more money you save.

We’re planting trees for free! Get in touch with us at positiveplanet.uk  to plant one for a friend and talk to us if you want more info on living and eating sustainably. We’d love to hear from you.

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