If you ask any person what their biggest goal for the new year is, there’s a good chance they’ll answer with “eat healthy” - for good reason! One of the most consistently popular long-term resolutions of all time, “eating healthy” has long been touted for its benefits, including but not limited to better health, a stronger mindset, and a younger, more fit appearance.
With all these pros and no cons to speak of, it’s little wonder that the golden standard of “healthy eating” has been chased by nearly everyone at some point in their lives. But in addition to all the celebrated personal advantages, paying attention to what you eat can impact the world around you as well! For years, eco-enthusiasts have known that eating greener, more plant-based meals isn’t only good for yourself. It also helps the environment through reducing your carbon footprint, cutting down on energy use, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions caused by meat production, which are all positive impacts that go far beyond just your own body.
Instead of “healthy,” eco-conscious individuals like to dub this “eating sustainably.” This implies that you’re not only eating well for the sake of your own health - you’re doing it to support the health of our planet as well, so that it can continue on towards a greener, more sustainable future.
If this has piqued your interest, you’re in the right place. It’s never too late to start eating both healthily and sustainably. Who knows? Get off to a good start, and you might be surprised at how quickly both your body and your mind will feel better.
To help you along on your path to this widely-coveted goal, here are a few foolproof tips to follow so you can start eating for yourself and your planet!
Slow Down on Eating Meat
One of the most common pieces of advice you’re bound to hear in your journey to health is “eat more veggies” - for good reason! But not only are greens good for your body, they also do a lot to benefit the environment too. Research has shown that eating more plant-based foods helps significantly save on the resources needed to produce animal-based foods like meat and dairy, since the process used to get them from the farm onto your plate takes a lot less energy. This leads to less greenhouse gas emissions, less water and land use, and a healthier planet overall.
By cutting down your household’s meat consumption, you’re effectively cutting down on your carbon footprint, which means you’re doing your part to lessen the enormous environmental burden caused by the meat industry. But don’t worry - you don’t have to switch out all your meat dishes right away. Meatless Mondays are a great way to get started, and the Internet has a wealth of simple, delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes available to help you out!
Cut Down on Food and Water Waste
There’s no denying that cooking can get messy sometimes. Most nights, once you’ve scarfed down your delicious dinner, it can feel tempting to skip out on proper clean-up so you can kick back and relax as soon as possible. As much of a hassle as it can be sometimes, though, effectively minimizing and disposing of your food waste is still a crucial part of sustainable eating.
First things first: try to throw out as little food as possible! Millions of tons of food are wasted every year. Pay attention to portion sizes when cooking, and if you have leftovers, make sure to stick them in the fridge or freezer to make them last longer. When it comes to things like fruit rinds or eggshells, learn how to dispose of them properly as organic waste so that they can be sustainably reused as resources like compost.
Shop Local Groceries Whenever You Can
Why not try a new direction for your weekly grocery runs? If you didn’t already know, shopping at small businesses or farms in your local area can do lots to both support your community and the planet!
You won’t only boost the local economy by actively giving back - you’ll also reduce its carbon footprint through cutting down on emissions linked to transportation, since locally grown food is sourced from the area itself and won’t need to be shipped across the ocean. What’s more, local shops are usually just a walk away, so you won’t have to travel and increase your own carbon footprint, either.
Look For In-Season Fruits and Veggies
The reason for eating in-season foods is one and the same as the reason for buying local! When vegetables and fruits are “in season” - meaning that it’s the time of the year where they’re at their harvest peak - they’re fresher, more nutritious, and most importantly, they travel shorter distances due to being available more readily in the area. Sound familiar? You guessed it: this significantly reduces carbon emissions from transportation as well.
In-season foods also don’t require extra energy or resources to grow properly, since they’re harvested during the period where they’re naturally at their peak. For example, a fruit that naturally grows during the summer will need a heated greenhouse and additional energy for it to grow during the winter. In-season fruits and veggies don’t have this issue, so be sure to do your research and look for the right foods for your dinner table!
Pay Attention to Food Packaging
Waste from food doesn’t just stop at literal food waste. When you pick up your food products from the grocery store, don’t ignore the packaging! Statistics show that over 60% of plastic waste that bleeds into the environment in Canada comes from packaging, leading to pollution, safety hazards, and irreparable amounts of damage to our planet.
Instead, try to go for products that use sustainable packaging whenever you’re able to. Options like cardboard or paper are easily recyclable or upcyclable when you’re done with them, making them top choices if you’re trying to make everything related to your food as sustainable as you can.
Challenge Yourself to Grow Your Own Food
Yes, you read that right! And no, we promise it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Growing your own food might sound incredibly complicated, but it’s quickly becoming a more and more popular activity for eco-conscious people who want to make a difference in their household. Having access to your own fruits and vegetables in your home eliminates the need for transportation and packaging altogether, greatly reducing your carbon footprint and also supporting the local ecosystem through increasing green space.
If you’re able to take control over your own food, you also get the final say in the resources you use, which means you’re free to cut out any pesticides and chemicals that might harm the environment. The benefits are endless - and if you’re interested but nervous about the idea, there are many, many online guides available for you to peruse before you begin. There’s no harm in trying it out!
Like any other sought-after goal, eating sustainably isn’t a one-and-done kind of task - but with a little bit of effort and commitment, we guarantee you’ll be on your way to becoming the perfect eco-friendly foodie in no time!
Here at Mosa, we believe in a future for our planet that’s zero-waste, resource efficient, and sustainable for generations to come. That’s why we’re always excited to share a bit of eco-inspiration with our community. If everyday tips on going green interest you, consider joining the Mosa family and helping us keep the conversation going!