If you care about the environment, if you want to feel good about your food choices, or if you have some other reason to favor sustainability, you’ll be interested in making more sustainable food choices.
So how can you make them?
How to Make More Sustainable Food Choices
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or completely overhaul your eating choices to live a more sustainable life. These are some of the best sustainability-forward food choices you can make for yourself:
1. Familiarize yourself with sustainability. First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the topic of sustainability, since it’s somewhat complex and multifaceted. Different people define “sustainability” in different ways, and there are many categories of sustainability to potentially follow.
For example, in the broadest and most familiar sense, sustainability refers to a product or business’s reliance on renewable resources, allowing it to be produced indefinitely into the future. But sustainability also refers to the overall environmental impact of your choices, the socio-economic impact, and more.
2. Research the companies you buy from. One of the best things you can do is research the food manufacturers, restaurants, and stores you buy from. For example, Griffith Foods is a food product company that has dedicated itself to sustainability. In this company, people work hard to rely on sustainable ingredients and sustainable processes, while innovating delicious new food creations for the masses. Buying from sustainability-conscious suppliers can help take the guesswork out of your shopping and give you confidence in what you’re buying.
3. Shop local. You can also intentionally shop locally. The further you have to drive, the more greenhouse gas emissions you’re producing. On top of that, shopping at a national chain usually means buying products that have been farmed, created, and shipped across the country – or even across the world. Consider relying on farmers’ markets as much as possible.
4. Avoid highly processed foods. Some foods necessarily undergo processing, but the fewer steps your food goes through, the better. Each step of the manufacturing process adds to the environmental footprint of your food – and may compromise the nutritional value of the finished product.
5. Watch your portion sizes. Overconsumption is a sustainability problem as well, and in the United States, large portion sizes are the norm. That doesn’t mean you should starve yourself for the sake of sustainability, but oftentimes, smaller meals are plenty to meet your nutritional requirements.
6. Shop in season. When possible, try to shop for fruits and vegetables that are in season. Take advantage of the crops that are abundant, and don’t buy out-of-season food products unnecessarily. Out-of-season foods are often shipped extensive distances to reach you, resulting in a bigger environmental impact. Plus, foods that are in season are typically less expensive, saving you money in the process.
7. Reduce food waste. How much food goes to waste in your house on a regular basis? Even if you’re conscious of your food waste, you might be surprised to learn how much ends up in the trash. You can reduce your food waste by buying smaller amounts of food at a time, making use of all food components (when possible), cleaning your plate, and appropriately disposing of food waste when possible (such as by composting it or feeding it to livestock).
8. Reduce packaging waste. While you’re at it, consider reducing your food packaging waste as well. When possible, purchase your fruits and vegetables without the additional plastic wrap or bags. When buying boxes of cereal, opt for choices that come in a bag, rather than bags that are housed in an additional box.
9. Grow your own food. You can reduce your travel time, eliminate food packaging, and treat yourself to home-grown goodies all at the same time by growing your own food. Depending on where you live, you can start your own backyard garden, contribute to a local community garden, or even start an indoor hydroponic garden if you have no other options (or if you like the convenience).
10. Spread the culture. Finally, consider spreading the culture of food sustainability. You don’t need to persuade other people to live their lives the way you want, but you can educate them about the impact of their choices – and introduce them to tasty alternatives.
Doing What You Can
You don’t need to dramatically overhaul your way of living to make a difference in the world. You don’t have to resort to only eating food you’ve personally grown or cut entire categories of food out of your diet.
Even small, individual choices can add up to make a big difference – so do what you can to support a healthier lifestyle and a healthier planet, and feel good about yourself in the process.