Sustainable eating for the family and the planet
When it comes to environmental sustainability what we eat can collectively have a huge impact. Up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK are linked to agriculture and food production. Paying attention to what and how we eat is one way we can all help to protect our planet. Here are my top tips for eating a sustainable diet.
Protein choices. Red meat has the biggest environmental impact out of all foods produced. Reducing your red meat intake is a great first step and will benefit your health as well. Aim for no more than 500g cooked weight of red meat per week. Try to have some meat free days each week and increase your intake of beans and pulses as well as tofu and Quorn, which will increase your fibre intake at the same time. Ensure fish is from sustainable sources. The MSC has a guide here!
Portion sizes. Watching your portion sizes isn’t just good for your health. If we all ate moderate portions then food production would be reduced, which would have a positive impact on the environment. So, next time your reaching for seconds even though you’re not hungry think about the environment.
Food waste. Try planning your meals and making a shopping list so you only buy what you need. Serve yourself smaller portions, so that food isn’t left on your plate and ends up being scrapped into the bin. Keep any leftovers for lunch or freeze them. Use tinned, dried and frozen foods too reduce foods going off before you get around to eating them. Pay attention to Use By dates. Store food correctly to lengthen its lifespan.
When it comes to serving young children their appetites can vary widely, so make sure you give them a small amount to begin with, that way you can gauge their hunger and see whether or not they are going to eat it, this way you will reduce the waste.
Drinks: Choose water, coffee or tea and reduce your intake of soft drinks and fruit juice which contribute 8.9 % to GHG emissions.
Packaging: choose food in no packaging, recyclable or biodegradable packaging. When storing food at home or making a packed lunch, choose reusable containers and sandwich wraps such as beeswax wraps instead of cling film. Use a reusable drinks bottle.
Air miles: try to choose British and if possible locally sourced produce. Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables will reduce the air miles and the processing and packaging used to transport them. It will reduce the cost of your food bill as well as.
With so many ways to eat sustainably there is nothing stopping you from adopting one or two of these today!
The British Dietetic Association have developed The One Blue Dot project to help people and business put a sustainable diet into action. Here they suggest some easy swaps you can make at mealtimes. One Blue Dot.