One of the most effective things you can do to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly is to eat sustainably. There are lots of simple ways to reduce the impact of your food on the environment – here are some ideas to make a difference.
Reduce your intake of animal products
Meat and dairy products are energy-intensive and inefficient to produce. Raising and transporting livestock uses more food, water, land, and energy than producing plant foods and is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. If you don’t want to be vegan or vegetarian, then reduce your consumption of meat and dairy by using plant foods such as nuts and legumes for some meals. Or replace meat with sustainably caught fish – see the Good Fish Guide from the Marine Conservation Society. Buy less meat and dairy and choose good quality produce, free range, grass fed and organic if possible. See Red meat’s not green
Eat more wholefoods
Wholegrains, nuts, beans and lentils are less processed than factory refined products and are better for you. They can often be bought loose or in bulk which reduces packaging. Avoid junk foods which are usually full of processed ingredients.
Buy local and seasonal
Farmers markets are a great place to buy organic foods and local produce – you are supporting the local economy and the food is fresher. In-season produce is almost always going to cost less and avoid the extra energy use and costs of long-distance transport or heated greenhouses.
Planning meals in advance and using up leftovers reduces wasted food, and avoiding junk foods and processed foods reduces packaging waste. Eating simply reduces the amount of food you need to buy.
Join the food sharing revolution. Olio is a free app that connects people and businesses so that surplus groceries, food nearing its sell-by date in-store, home-grown vegetables etc can be shared instead of thrown away. It can be used for non-food household items too. See Olio
If you don’t feel like cooking, the app Too Good To Go links users with restaurants selling surplus food at very low prices rather than throwing it away.
Grow your own
If possible, grow some or all of your own veg. If you don’t have a garden, you may be able to rent an allotment or join with a community garden group. At the very least, you can grow your own beansprouts on a windowsill – see Start sprouting
Become a ‘frugavore’
Arabella Forge uses the term ‘frugavore’ to describe this way of sustainable living. She says “A frugavore lives sustainably by doing everything frugally – living, cooking, shopping – and making the most of what they have, supporting best practices in farming, wasting nothing, and growing their own food or keeping chickens when they can”. She explains the concept in an interview at decisivecravings.com and in this YouTube video:
Available from Amazon:
Frugavore: How to Grow Organic, Buy Local, Waste Nothing, and Eat Well by Arabella Forge.