Easy Ways to Choose More Sustainable Food
If you’re trying to create a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to be intentional about the foods you purchase and consume. The food we eat is a huge part of our daily lives, so making sustainable food choices helps kickstart your sustainability journey overall.
But what does it really mean to choose food that’s sustainable? And what do you do about the food you already have that isn’t necessarily sustainable? The good news is that you don’t have to toss out everything in your pantry and start over. In fact, that would be the opposite of sustainable living!
Instead, as you do your regular grocery shopping, start by substituting a few sustainable food options in place of the less-sustainable ones you would normally buy — baby steps and all that.
Read on to learn more about choosing healthy, sustainable food, and enjoy some easy ideas to get you started.
What Is Sustainable Food?
Living sustainably is all about reducing waste and excessive consumption so as to lessen your negative impact on the environment and help sustain the earth’s resources.
Choosing sustainable food, then, means choosing food that is as environmentally friendly and non-wasteful as possible. Choosing sustainable food is not just about the food itself, but rather the entire process of how that food gets from the earth to your table — and even beyond.
Here are some tips for choosing more sustainable food options:
— Reduce meat consumption. Yes, really! Reducing or eliminating your consumption of meat, especially red meat, can help fight climate change. And skipping that steak is actually healthier for you, too.
— Check who produces it. Knowing where your food comes from — and the processes used to get it to you — helps you make sustainable food choices. When possible, choose local vendors or companies that can demonstrate the sustainability of their foods and processes.
— Eat seasonally. Let’s face it: Most fruits and vegetables don’t naturally grow all year round. Part of what makes these foods unsustainable are the processes that allow them to show up in grocery stores even during the off-season. Try to purchase only produce that is in-season in your area.
— Pay attention to packaging. How the food is packaged also impacts its sustainability. Is it wrapped in copious amounts of plastic? Individually packaged in non-biodegradable materials? Buying in bulk and bringing your own reusable bags are simple steps you can take to help reduce waste.
Like many lifestyle changes, choosing sustainable food gets easier the more you practice it. As you train yourself to make more sustainable choices, you’ll slowly but surely build up solid environmentally friendly habits.
Easy, Sustainable Food Options to Try
Still not quite sure where to start? Here are a few ideas for sustainable food choices that you can make today.
— Legumes: Also known as pulses, legumes include things like beans, peas, and peanuts. Not only are they a nutritious protein source that’s easy to grow and often cheap to buy, legumes are also great for the environment
— Seaweed: More than just a sushi ingredient, seaweed is a nutritious, environmentally-friendly crop that doesn’t require deforestation, fertilizers, or even fresh water to farm. Enjoy it in soups, salads, or as a tasty roasted snack.
— Organic, locally-grown fruits and veggies: Most of us could probably use more fruits and veggies in our diets. For maximum sustainability, be sure to choose in-season, organic produce that’s locally grown — and don’t be afraid to ask local farmers about the sustainability of their processes.
— Plant-based protein snacks: Swap out processed meat snacks for ones that are packed with plant-based protein instead. For example, our Outstanding Pig Out Crunchies have 7 grams of protein per serving, are addictively delicious, and contain no meat or other animal products.
Of course, these are just a few ideas for choosing more sustainable food. Use the above list as a starting point, and see where your creativity and new sustainable eating habits take you!
Better Health for People & Planet
Like any habit or lifestyle change, cultivating a diet of sustainable food won’t happen overnight. But making small, conscious choices adds up over time. And that means every choice you make toward greater sustainability helps make a difference — not only for your own health, but also for the whole planet.
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