With growing environmental concerns, many people are beginning to make lifestyle changes in an attempt to become more eco-friendly. One of the biggest areas that can easily be adapted to help the environment is your diet, as food production, transportation and waste causes an increase in pollution and environmental damage. To help you switch to less harmful eating habits, here are our top tips on how to make your diet more eco-friendly:
Cut down on your carbon footprint by opting for locally sourced produce. Transporting non-local ingredients to supermarkets uses fossil fuels, increasing the already hefty carbon footprint of some produce. As well as helping the environment and supporting local businesses, eating local also means that the food on your plate will be fresher. Fresher food tends to taste better and may have more nutrients retained in them than those needing to be transported overseas.
Buying organic produce, especially fruit and vegetables, is another way of making your diet more eco-friendly. Many non-organic farms will rely on ‘un-natural’ farming techniques, such as using synthetic pesticides, genetically modified produce and petroleum-based fertilisers. Foods that have been certified as organic will have been grown on a farm that promotes biodiversity and recycles its resources, as well as not using any of the synthetic methods. Organic eating is also far more sustainable for the environment, helping to reduce pollution, in addition to conserving both soil and water. Plus, it is said that organic foods taste far nicer than their non-organic counterparts, so if you can afford the swap, there is no reason why not!
Make sure the foods that you are buying has minimal packaging to help cut down on the amount of plastic waste you produce, especially that which cannot be recycled. Simple ways to cut down on plastic waste include selecting loose fruits and vegetables over bagged packs, taking your own Tupperware to stores to take home items from the deli, and buying things in bulk.
Eat in Season
A great way to create an eco-friendly plate is to eat seasonally. This means that you eat produce at the time when it is harvested and at its peak, rather than eating fruit and veg that has been imported; for example, strawberries will not be naturally available in the UK in winter. This again means that you can eat local produce, and get the best fresh produce. Eating seasonally also tends to cut down on your food bills, as it tends to be cheaper to eat in season food.
Eat Less Meat
If you’re not already a vegetarian or vegan, then one of the best ways to make your diet more eco-friendly is to cut down on the amount of meat you eat. Out of all food products, industrially farmed meats have the biggest impact on the environment. If you don’t want to cut meat out of your life completely, then swap a meal or two a week for a meat-free option.
Try Different Fish
After years of overfishing, poor fishery management and destructive fishing methods, some aspects of fishing are unsustainable and are causing fish populations and the environment to be damaged. As a solution to this, fish lovers will need to diversify the kinds that they are consuming. Only eating favourites like cod, salmon or tuna is causing some fish to become endangered, so expanding your diet is crucial. Instead, swap out popular chip-shop choices for similar fish such as coley, hake, pollack or lemon sole for a more sustainable choice.
Grow Your Own
Perhaps the most eco-friendly thing you can do for your diet is to plant up your own produce and grow some ingredients for your meals. Whether it is a small vegetable patch in your garden, a couple of fruit trees planted or you start taking part in a community garden, growing your own fruit, veg and herbs is ideal for those who are ecologically conscious. Growing your own food allows you to know exactly what has gone into it, so you can rest assured your carrots aren’t packed full of chemicals! It will also help to reduce your carbon footprint and eliminate the need for packaging.
Instead of putting food waste into landfill, ensure that all of your fruit and veg peel, eggshells, tea leaves and other compostable food waste are added to a compost bin. Composting allows this waste to be turned into a natural fertiliser which can, in turn, be used to grow more fresh produce!
If you’re looking to make lifestyle changes in order to become more eco-friendly, then why not change your holidays too?! Instead of increasing your carbon footprint by jetting off abroad, look to glamping holidays for an eco-friendly option that remains fun and glamorous – you can even go glamping with a hot tub!