Ten Sustainable Food Choices You Can Make

Climate action
5 MIN
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Do you know how your food choices impact the planet? Some of the most familiar foods we eat have a significant impact on our world, so making sustainable food choices is critical in this day and age. Here are ten sustainable food choices you can start making to help our planet.

1. BE SMART WITH YOUR FOOD WASTE

Food waste is a colossal worldwide problem, and it is one of the most significant greenhouse gas emitters. When food ends up in landfills, it rots, producing a very polluting gas called methane. Luckily for us, there are many ways to reduce food waste and ensure it degrades healthily. 

One of the many sustainable food choice you can make today is to start composting! You can create your compost and use it in your backyard or join a composting scheme. Many local farmers' markets provide services where they collect your compost and then use it on local farms. 

2. EAT MORE VEG

Arguably the most sustainable food choice you can make is ditch the meat and consume more vegetables! As you may already know, meat has an incredibly high carbon footprint, especially meats like beef and pigs. In comparison, foods such as pulses and meat alternatives have a drastically lower carbon footprint.

3. COOK WITH THE LID ON AND LOWER THE HEAT 

Cooking uses energy and gas, which adds to our overall carbon footprint. If we can reduce the amount of energy and gas we use, we can lower our carbon footprint. Therefore cooking food with a saucepan lid on is a simple but effective way to reduce emissions. Your food will cook faster, and it stops you from unnecessarily heating the kitchen!

4. AVOID PLASTIC WHERE POSSIBLE 

Every supermarket aisle you turn down seems to be overflowing with plastic these days, and trying to tackle this issue alone can often feel too overwhelming. Nevertheless, we shouldn't give up.

Nevertheless, there are a few sustainable food choices we can make when it comes to tackling plastic. First and foremost, always bring your bags to the supermarket.

That includes getting a small bag to put your groceries in. Secondly, try to buy groceries at the farmer's markets. There tends to be less packaging, and they are usually organic, too.

5. TRACK THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF YOUR FOOD PRODUCTS

Want to start searching for more sustainable food choices? The Palau app can help with this. Consumers can use the app to see exactly how their food products have impacted the environment. Palau provides consumers with an ecological and nutritional score out of 100.

Consumers can then see the amount of CO2 produced during the food product production, at what point in the food supply chain are most emissions produced, and if the packaging used is harmful to the environment. Using the Palau app, consumers can start making sustainable food choices that benefit the planet. 

6. MEAL PREP 

Meal prepping is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. You can use less gas by meal prepping and produce less food waste.

 The best way to prepare meals is to write a list of all the meals you want to cook for the week.

Meal prepping avoids food waste and saves you time during the week. Secondly, cook in bulk. Prepare large quantities of your staple ingredient, such as rice or quinoa, which means you only have to cook it once during the week.

8. CHOOSE FRUITS AND VEG THAT ARE IN SEASON 

Eating fruits and vegetables is a relatively easy sustainable food choice to make as it requires little effort and brings more diversity to your meals.

Picking fruits and vegetables in season reduces your environmental impact as they require less transport, energy and pesticides. Click the link to find all the fruits and vegetables currently in season. 

7. CHOOSE YOUR SEAFOOD CAREFULLY 

Fish can be an essential staple in people's diets as fish is often rich in protein and omega-three fatty acids. However, due to overfishing, many species have become endangered or extinct, threatening our ocean's entire ecosystem. 

It is essential to know which fish are sustainable and not overfished. Generally, oysters, mussels and prawns are the most sustainable food choices as they are fish farmed.

Nevertheless, it is important to check the Marine Conservation Societies' good fish guide regularly. They update this page with the latest fish stocks and show you which fish to avoid and which are ok to eat. 

9. STORE FRUIT AND VEG IN THE CORRECT WAY 

One essential sustainable food choice you can invest some time into is learning how to properly store your fruit and vegetables to prevent them from decaying. Here are a few tips for doing so. 

  • Freeze berries and refrigerate a small amount that you want for that particular day. Berries are the quickest to rot, so it is essential to eat them quickly or freeze them. 
  • Wrap your lettuce in a kitchen towel to stop the lettuce from drying out. 
  • If you want to ripen fruit or vegetables quickly, store them next to bananas and vice versa. 
  • Save your jars and store things like chilli peppers, ginger and leftover lettuce!

10. BY LOCAL

Many of the fruits and vegetables found in big supermarkets will have grown and imported from a different country.On the other hand, buying your groceries at local farmers markets is a great way to avoid imported foods.

Not only does buying your food local reduce your environmental impact but local fruits and vegetables are actually better for your health! Ripe fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients as they have just be freshly picked and they usually contain a lot less pesticides.

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Holly Keenan
Environmental Journalist
Outdoors enthusiast
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