6 Tips to Make Your Eating Habits More Sustainable
We look for longevity and sustainability in our homes and health, but it goes well beyond that. Sustainability is leading the way in 2021, with significantly more options for sustainable eating habits. When JBS, the world’s largest supplier of beef, chicken and pork, experienced a ransomware attack in May, many realized the importance of making their eating habits more sustainable, and less dependent on the world of industry.
Let’s explore what a sustainable diet actually looks like, and a few tips you can use to jump-start your new, sustainable eating habits.
What is sustainable food?
What is sustainable eating really? Eating sustainable means going the extra mile toward choosing food produced, packaged and delivered in an environmentally-friendly way, and food with a low impact on the natural world.
Why should you try to eat more sustainably?
An average American household spends over $7,000 on food per year. Eating sustainably means directing this massive amount of money to companies who are producing sustainably-sourced foods. Sustainability has a massive impact on your health, as well as the health of your community. It also impacts climate change, work conditions and pay, and inhumane animal practices.
What are some ways we can eat and cook more sustainably?
A vote for sustainability is a vote for your planet, so let’s explore a few ways individuals are making their eating habits more sustainable for a better future.
1. Eat a variety of foods
If you find yourself attracted to more processed food, that’s where you make your first change. Some get stuck in a rut, eating the same things daily. These types of eating habits mean you are missing out on important healthy elements. It’s critical to focus on eating a wide variety of healthy foods, and to open yourself up to new foods, like vegetables, beans or nuts, you might not be getting enough of.
2. Grow your own
Bell peppers, herbs, lettuce, squash and tomatoes are cheaper to grow at home than to buy at the store. Even people with small outdoor spaces can easily throw together an herb garden or hang a tomato plant. Growing your own food means less trips to the store, less money spent on gas and groceries, and healthy food, with no mysterious pesticides or chemicals.
3. Reduce consumption of processed foods
Processed foods contain a great deal of sugar and fat, both known to cause weight gain, less skin elasticity, and a shorter life-span. Change your diet to include fewer processed foods, and more fruits, vegetables and grains. Drastic diet changes can sometimes lead to flu-like, parasite die off symptoms, which are your body’s way of getting rid of toxins. So, stick with your new sustainable diet to see the very real benefits.
4. Moderate your meat
70% of all agricultural land is monopolized by grazing animals, producing greenhouse emissions and requiring twice as much food as they produce in meat. Limit the amount of meat you buy, to have a significant impact on your sustainability, and your overall health. Growing plants requires 100 times less water than watering animals, meaning a plant-based diet is reducing your carbon footprint in several different ways.
5. Buy locally and in-season first
A recent Mintel survey said 65% of people find local food fresher, and 63% buy local to help support their local economy. Local food is often grown by a member of your community, like a small farming or growing operation. Buying in-season foods has many benefits, including the reduction in the amount of fuel it took to deliver the food. Out-of-season produce requires more special lighting, heating or cooling capabilities, and thus a higher cost and a higher impact on the environment. By buying local and in-season, you often get food with less chemicals, and you remove the fuel, time and cost of the supply chain delivering non-local food to your area. Not sure where to start? Look for “local” labels on your food, or visit a nearby farmers’ market.
There are usually leftovers after a meal. Composting is a great way to improve the quality of the soil in your garden, and lower the amount of food waste you produce. Consider separating food waste after each meal, and adding it to a compost heap somewhere on your property. Some companies are even making indoor composting tools, to help in more urban areas.
Sustainable Eating Habits Summary
Not only is eating sustainably healthier for you, it’s cheaper, faster and easier than most options. Sustainability means less reliance on enterprises, supply chains and money for the things you need – and building sustainable eating habits now will prepare you for any eventuality. Today is the day to start down the path toward future growth, happiness and sustainability.