What does it mean to have a sustainable diet? Well, considering ‘sustainable’ literally means something that could carry on forever, to have a sustainable diet is to take a few things into consideration. Being kind to yourself (no fad diets or short-term fixes!) is equally as important as being kind to the environment.
We’ve been inspired but experienced, registered nutritionist The Nutrition Consultant and given you a list of the most effective sustainable food choices!
Seasonal produce is one of the best ways of improving the wellbeing of the planet and your body. Buying seasonal produce means that it can be bought locally, because you’re buying what’s being grown in your region at the current time of year.
Local produce tastes better because the food is fresh (bananas can take up to 25 days to appear on the shelf at the supermarket after they are picked!) and aren’t sprayed with chemicals to keep them from rotting (how often do you wash your apples before eating them?)
Plus, seasonal produce helps save the planet. Think of all the plastic packaging, made from single-use plastic, that is used when you buy food that has been imported across the world. Opting for seasonal produce from a local market or loose fruit and veg at the supermarket means you’re not consuming the Earth’s finite resources!
You might not think travel has anything to do with a sustainable diet, but it’s not just the plastic packaging of your food that is damaging the environment. Air miles are essentially the distance that your dinner has had to travel before it has arrived on your plate. As we know, transport is estimated to account for a fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions in the world, so a great way of maintaining a sustainable diet and save the planet is to refrain from buying food that has been flown across the world!
You don’t need to become a fully dedicated vegan warrior to make a difference, but reducing your meat and dairy intake will give you a far more sustainable diet.
Livestock farming is a significant contributor to climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, so help save the planet by eating more plants – even if it’s just one day a week. Get tips from @the_nutrition_cosultant on Instagram as to the health benefits of different plant-based alternatives – because sustainable diets mean sustainable nutrition, too!
We all know the health benefits of staying hydrated, but are you ensuring that you are looking after the environment as well as yourself? Take reusable water bottles and cups out and about with you to decrease your single-use plastic usage and you increase your wellbeing!
An important part of a sustainable diet is not over-consuming, Try and only buy the food that you need, know how to store it, (Fridge? Freezer? Locked away from your siblings?)
Also know the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ – and remember that you can cook freeze that is getting beyond its best and then freeze it for a later date.
We’ve already mentioned about trying to buy items that are loose: have you considered a refill shop? It’s almost impossible to avoid all packaging, but recycle what you can and reuse items such as glass jars (perfect for overnight oats, or storing half a tin of beans in the fridge, or transporting food items for a snack!)
A lot of water and energy goes into producing food, so it’s important that, to avoid wasting natural resources, we reduce food waste. As well as buying less, we can buy more of the food that we think will otherwise be wasted. A sustainable diet means not being a snob – choose wonky and imperfect fruit and veg. We are all about inclusivity – so look beyond their appearance – plus, these imperfect foods are often cheaper, too!
Granted, it takes a little more time and effort than nipping to Aldi, but growing your own food is the ultimate route to a sustainable diet. It’s not only ticking the plant-based, seasonal produce, low air miles boxes, but is super rewarding AND tasty! There are plenty of people out there who can advise growing your own vegetables too, including the wonderful: The Nutrition Consultant!
Maintaining a sustainable diet is all about incorporating sustainable food choices into your everyday life. Watch out for air miles and single-use plastic, keep recycling where you can and always go for local produce!
Enjoy the health benefits as you save the planet, and for more information on sustainable food choices, check out the food producers that are saving the rainforest with every sale, like Karma Drinks, Nuzest and Skull Crushers Coffee!
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