The health of our planet depends on our ability to create sustainable choices today. There are many things you can do to contribute toward sustainable living, but let’s focus exclusively on sustainable eating habits, to begin with. Before we get into the tips, let’s first define what “sustainable eating” means. In simple words, sustainable eating means implementing the right eating habits and choices to create sustainable living. A sustainable diet helps us make better use of our natural resources by reducing the number of resources needed to grow our food. Typically, it focuses on lowering our carbon footprint and lowering the total environmental effect.
Everyone wants to alter their lifestyle for the better, but many don’t know where to start. Even if you know where to begin, you may not be certain of the “why.” Many people embrace these sustainable habits as a hobby, but without a genuine motivation for sustainable living, this passion quickly fades away.
As a result, if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle for yourself, your loved ones, and our society, you must start making active decisions and changing your lifestyle choices on a regular basis. So, let us dive into understanding what are some eating habits that every household can take to save the planet.
• Adopt a plant-rich diet: Plant foods should be the focus of an environmentally responsible, long-term diet, meaning you should consume more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. That’s not to imply you can’t consume any meat; you just need to restrict your intake to a few servings each week.
• Buy local and organic produce: Invest in buying local and organic products. There are several locations where you may get local, organic fruits and veggies. Prices may be a little more, but you’ll know that your money is supporting a local farmer, helping the environment, and protecting you from the hazardous pesticides and chemicals sometimes found in so-called fresh farm products. And most importantly, don’t forget to “Buy only what you need” instead of stocking up unnecessarily.
• Use environment-friendly utensils for cooking: Plastic jars, containers, cutlery, rubbish bags, and other items are abundant in our kitchens, and their use is increasing. Plastic not only contributes to environmental degradation but also harms our health. Therefore, it’s advisable to use steel, glass, or copper instead which are safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly. For example, clay pots can be used to store water or mortar pestle or a stone grinder can be used to make chutneys instead of a grinder.
• Buy fewer processed food: Making sustainable food choices is the first step in living a sustainable lifestyle. Make the switch from processed and packaged foods as it harms and causes serious health issues and lacks nutritional value as it consists of unhealthy amounts of added sugars, sodium, fats, and other preservatives. Instead, as repeatedly recommended, switch to consuming fresh and organic food which are not only healthy but rich in nutritional value as they contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and hence make a healthy chunk of your diet.
• Grow your food: Purchasing locally grown food from a farmer’s market or a neighborhood grocer is a wonderful way to reduce your environmental impact, but producing your food takes it to the next level. By growing your own, it means you are in full control. You can decide what goes on your plants and into your soil. Growing your food organically is not only environmentally friendly but also enriches your land by utilizing safe and natural fertilizers.
• Reduce food, water, and resource waste: There are many approaches to enhance sustainable waste management, but the four R’s of trash – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover – are typically followed. For instance, there are apparent measures to reduce food waste, such as just purchasing stock and supplies that you will utilize. Begin by utilizing reusable bags, which are often considerably stronger and have a larger capacity for reducing general trash, and then recycle unwanted waste.
• Compost, compost, compost! You could also consider composting as a waste management solution since it allows the biodegradable waste component to be processed while also reducing pollution of the air, water, and land. It holds a lot of water, which helps to prevent erosion and build better flora, especially if you have an organic kitchen, but even if you don’t, you should try growing your own microgreens.
It’s not only a matter of eating less meat or buying only organic products to achieve sustainability. A fully sustainable diet is both healthy and good for the environment. It’s all about making personal decisions and forming healthy eating habits.
In a nutshell, sustainable eating, making sustainable product choices, and using resources responsibly while decomposing are the key pillars that will allow you to live a sustainable lifestyle and always keep in mind – every small step counts!
-The article on behalf of Lavleen Kaur, Co-Founder & Head Dietitian, Diet Insight.