The food we eat impacts the environment– from waste production to transportation, there are many steps between growing food and putting it on your table.

Here are some ways that you can eat more sustainably. Remember, every small change helps— you don’t have to follow all of these right away!

Reduce Your Meat Consumption

Cattle farms are one of the largest productions of carbon dioxide. They also require an enormous amount of land— think of all the crops these cows need to eat. A significant number of forests have been cut down to make space for these animal farms.

Even if you make a weekly vegetarian night (think “Meatless Mondays”) or cut out meat from one of your three meals, it will make a huge difference. When you do eat red meat, try to buy local, grass-fed, and organic beef. Cattle that eat grass instead of grains are not only healthier but also significantly better for the environment.

Eat Local-Grown Food

We are lucky to live in such a globalized society, where all fruits and veggies are available year-round thanks to imports from other countries. However, transportation, both by air and land, takes a considerable toll on the environment.

Try to buy your food from local farmers instead and eat more seasonally. They may not grow everything year-round, but the meat, fruits, and veggies you get will be of better quality and much fresher.

woman working in kitchen

Use What You Buy

Food waste is a big problem in the western world. Studies have shown that the average American household throws away over 30% of their food. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of all the food you intend to buy and what you will use it for. Consider the expiration dates and the quantity of food you can eat within that time frame.

Purchase No-Plastic Produce

Most of the food we buy at grocery stores is heavily packaged in plastic. However, the fruits and veggies can often be purchased without packaging. Instead of putting the produce in those clear plastic bags, buy some reusable produce bags. They’re inexpensive, they help the environment, and they look much nicer in your fridge.

When you purchase dry goods, such as beans, nuts, seeds, or whole grains, try to buy from the bulk aisle and bring your own containers. They will be more economical while also saving on unnecessary plastic.

Eat Whole Foods Vs. Processed Foods

Generally, if you stick to unprocessed whole foods, you’ll be doing yourself (and the planet) a whole lot of good. Organic and locally grown fruits and veggies will reduce your carbon footprint and contain more flavor than imported ones.

Whole grains, such as quinoa and oats, are also better than refined white grains. When you buy soy products, such as tofu or tempeh, make sure to buy organic and GMO-free products. Other whole foods include nuts, beans, legumes, and seeds.

Of these tips for eating more sustainably, which will you start implementing in your home?

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