Given this little space of mine is primarily dedicated to food and sustainable living it’s a little strange I haven’t actually combined the two topics yet, but today I’m going to rectify this! So here they are, my top tips for eating sustainably!
Eat Seasonally & Locally
Choosing produce that is in season and grown locally is the biggest way to eat more sustainably as it means that the produce hasn’t been stored for long periods of time and transported thousands of kilometres. The further the food has travelled the more energy has been required to produce it and therefore the less sustainable it. We’re so used to having access to pretty much any fruit & vegetables we want at the supermarket year round, but those asparagus from Chile or oranges from America come with quite a hefty environmental footprint. Check the seasonal food guide if you’re not sure what’s in season when – the food will taste better in season as well!
Reduce Food Waste
Cutting down on the amount of food waste you create is a great way to improve your sustainability when it comes to food. Each year Australians throw away up to 20% of the food they purchase which is a rather frightening statistic, and that means that not only are we wasting a lot of money but we’re also wasting all the resources that went into growing all that food. I’m planning a little series on meal planning later this month which is my number 1 way to reduce how much food I waste, so hopefully that will be of help to you too! Don’t forget to compost any food you do need to dispose of.
Grow Your Own
The more of your own food you can grow the more sustainable (and cheap!) it will be, and the less food you are likely to waste. Herbs are a particularly good place to start as nothing beats fresh herbs but they can be so expensive to buy, and come in larger bunches than you generally need at once. I don’t have a lot of space, nor the greenest of thumbs but I’m really enjoying the spoils of my little balcony garden, and I always make sure I come home from visiting my folks with a bounty of homegrown goodness as well!
Make Your Own
Cooking at home is an excellent way to eat more sustainably as you have control over the ingredients used and quantitates of food cooked. The more you can cook at home the better, and this goes for items like sauces, stock, pesto, granolas and the like as well. The more of these products you can make yourself the less packaged products you’ll need to buy, cutting down on the amount of waste created. Plus, things usually taste better homemade anyway!
Buy Fair Trade
For items like coffee, tea and chocolate ensuring you buy products with the fair trade symbol is really important and this ensures the farmers have been treated justly and that the ingredients were grown with limited impact on the environment. The growing of products like coffee can result in high environmental degradation through deforestation and pollution of water sources, so making sure we all support those growers will have a positive impact on the environment globally.
Have Meatfree Days
Not everyone wants to become vegetarian or vegan, but cutting down the amount of meat you eat and having meat free days is a really great way to eat more sustainably. The livestock industry contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as requiring large quantitates of water and grains to feed the animals. The less meat we’re all consuming the lesser the impact on the planet, and you definitely don’t need to feel like you’re missing out – vego meals can be delicious too!
Choose Ethical Meat & Seafood
For the meat and seafood you do eat, be sure to choose sustainably sourced and ethically raised produce. Sustainable seafood means that it hasn’t been caught at rates faster than they can reproduce and that the fishing methods don’t result in habitat damage or by-catch. Some great resources to find out more, as well as get information about your favourite type of seafood is the Good Fish Bad Fish website and the Sustainable Table seafood guide. Sustainable Table also has lots of information to help guide your meat choices with information on what to look for and the impacts of the alternatives on the animals and the planet more generally.