When we say eat sustainably, we are referring to eating habits that don’t pose a threat to either you or your environment. It is helpful to note that our little day-to-day actions affect the environment, including our eating habits. Hence, we should all try as much as we can to eat sustainably. Here are 10 simple ways to eat more sustainably without it feeling like a chore:
1. Limit Your Intake of Ultra-Processed Foods
Processed foods are a group of foods that have been tweaked before consumption. Processing can involve frying, canning, baking, drying, and maybe even the addition of chemicals.
The process by which food is altered is usually energy-consuming, and gases may be released into the atmosphere as this is done, causing harm. So, staying away from processed foods, especially those processed in industries using heavy machinery, is a great idea.
And not only because it protects the environment; it may protect your health.
Processed foods have been linked to weight gain and other health problems. Reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods is one of the recommended ways to eat more sustainably.
2. Seafood? Not Too Much
The earth has more water than land. This means that if we are to preserve our world, we also have to pay much attention to our water bodies.
Water, like land, supports a wide array of life that are helpful in maintaining the earth.
Zoo planktons, for example, produce oxygen and also serve as food for primary consumers in the sea.
Fishes have their part to play, and so does every organism in the ocean.
So, excessively eating seafood may constitute a problem.
Stick to eating only seafood that is not considered ‘endangered’ or rare. Don’t purchase them. This would be withdrawing your support from people who overfish and, thus, destroy our water habitats.
3. What Kind of Meat Are You Eating?
We’ve talked about how eating certain species can pose a direct threat to the environment.
Amongst many of these species are many animals. Some of which include: the gorillas, elephants, jaguars, etc.
Many tribes, especially ones in forest and mangrove areas, call this ‘bushmeat.’ Well, we’ll like for you to call it: ‘endangered species; not meat.’
If you want to eat sustainably, try not to eat these animals. Do not purchase them, as this will only encourage poachers to go after them the more in a bid to make more sales.
If you can, report anyone selling ‘bushmeat’ to the authorities.
4. Purchase Locally Made Food
It is a great idea to purchase food grown in your locality.
Doing this comes with a lot of benefits, some to you, others to your town, and the rest to your environment. When you purchase locally made food, you:
- Eat Fresh: transporting food across regions takes time. And during this time, it is possible that changes occur within the foods. When you purchase locally made food, you eat the food in real-time, when the nutrients are still intact.
- Support Local Farmers: local farmers usually rely on the profit they make from the sales of their produce. Buying from them is supporting your local economy.
- Support the environment: transporting food usually involves the use of machinery. And with machinery, gas has to be used. No transportation means no gas and, hence, no pollution.
5. Purchase Your Food in Bulk
As much as you can, if you are to eat sustainably, purchase your food in bulk. The goal is to limit how often you use gas and fossil fuels.
When next you go shopping at the grocery store, be sure to pack as much food as you would need for a while, except quickly perishable foods.
Be sure, though, that you have the means to preserve the food.
6. Don’t Waste Food
Food wastage is a global problem and a serious one at that. How does it affect the environment, though? Well, by increasing demand.
Imagine a household expected to eat 60kg of food a week, wasting 30kg from this. What do you think will happen? They will keep demanding and demanding and purchasing more food.
The process of making food is tedious and, most times, uses a lot of energy. When you waste food, you prolong this process, causing energy to go to waste.
Wasting food is wasting energy.
7. Grow Your Own Garden
Instead of relying on food from outside your home, how about you grow your own garden if you have the space or your own home? This is sure going to help you eat more sustainably and the environment.
Planting your own garden means more plants, and more plants mean more oxygen. Plus, they sure look good.
Get in your garden and have yourself some good vegetables, without having to worry much about the condition of the crops.
In your garden, try not to use commercial fertilizers. Stick to natural manures. They save the environment.
8. Eat Food That Doesn’t Have to Be Cooked
Can you think of up to three foods that can be eaten without cooking? Yes, I think. To eat more sustainably, stick to eating these sorts of foods—a lot.
Almost all fruits fit in this category. Apples. Grapes. Cherries, etc. Fruits are amazing for your health.
Citrus foods provide you with a lot of Vitamin C.
Apples make sure you have enough antioxidants to keep free radicals in check.
Cherries contain fiber, which is just great for your digestive system.
9. Don’t Litter
Every now and then, you may have to eat food that has been packaged. Please, when you are done, do not litter your environment.
You don’t want further to worsen the waste disposal problem in the world, do you? I think not.
Put your litter in the waste bin. Do not drop them on streets or alleys, and do not fling them into gutters.
When they are leftovers you can’t help but throw away, consider using this as compost.
Bacteria can decompose most foods in the soil to enrich the soil even more. Yam peals. Crushed tomatoes. Etc. The list goes on.
Use these as compost. Throw them in your small garden, and they will be the perfect substitute for processed fertilizers.
Photo by RODNAE Productions