You’ve probably heard of sustainable eating and wondered if it’s really necessary when there are so many exciting food options. However, before you indulge in a fancy international dish or bite into that fruit that was flown in from California, think again. What value do these foods add to our health? How are they impacting the planet?
Sustainable eating keeps these vital factors in mind and helps make responsible food choices – choices that protect our planet’s resources, provide our body essential nutrients without the chemicals, and keep a check on climate change.
Here are six ways in which you can slowly and steadily imbue your life with sustainable eating practices and reap long-term benefits.
Choose plant-based foods over meat – meat production is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. That’s not all; eating a lot of red meat can have a serious impact on your health. To eat sustainably, focus on plant-based foods. Eating plant-based proteins, instead of animal-based protein, reduces land use, water use, and harmful emissions. However, you don’t have to cut out meat from your diet completely; at least not immediately. Just choose to go plant-based a couple of times a week to gradually build sustainable eating habits.
Buy local and in-season produce – when we say eat more plant-based foods, we also mean to buy locally-grown produce. Locally-grown fruits and vegetables reduce the need for long-distance transportation, thereby using fewer resources and emitting lesser greenhouse gases. Drop in at local farm markets to buy directly from the producers. The produce is likely to be free of chemicals, besides giving you a closer look at how your food is produced.
The same goes for in-season produce. Any produce that is not locally in season, but is available at the supermarket next door, has travelled thousands of miles to reach there. Imagine the emissions! Eat only seasonal produce, which will taste better and also keep our planet clean.
Eat seafood responsibly – it’s important to diversify your seafood choices to prevent overfishing of popular species. Try to avoid vulnerable fish and buy from locally-managed fisheries to ensure sustainability.
Reduce wastage – one of the best and the easiest ways to eat sustainably is to reduce food wastage. If you are unable to finish a meal, pack it and put in the fridge to eat the next day. If you don’t particularly enjoy leftovers, learn to cook in small quantities to avoid wastage.
Grow your food – not everyone has a green thumb, but growing your own fruits and veggies has its own charm. Home-grown, fresh produce is a fantastic way to eat sustainably, and leaves no carbon footprint. Taste-wise it will top anything you’ve ever eaten!
Cook your own food or choose brands that use locally-grown produce – if you cook your own meals, make the process simpler by planning a sustainable menu a week ahead. Yet, there will be days when you just cannot. On occasions when you want to eat a healthy and light meal, choose plant-based soups, made of locally-grown produce and wrapped in environment-friendly packaging.
Above all, eat mindfully. Be aware of what’s on your plate. Choose portions carefully. Chew slowly, savouring every flavour. And remember, your choice to eat sustainably can have real and accountable results on your mind and body, in addition to the planet. So, choose responsibly.
If you’d like to know more about eating sustainably, chat with the founder of Nutrisupa soups, Roopa Rajan, who has studied food sustainability and mindful eating in depth. Drop us a comment below or write to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also head to our Instagram page @nutrisupa.india