Food Choices and The Environment
You have to have been living under a rock if you have missed the rise in awareness of plastic and our environment, and how our food behaviours make an impact. There are two main ways in which our food choices impact the environment, the first is the food choice itself (i.e what we are eating) and the second is the way in which we eat it, i.e in what packaging, on the go etc.
What we eat
When considering our environmental impact, what we eat plays a huge part in our carbon footprint. In particular this relates to our meat, dairy and fish consumption. This does not mean you immediately have to go vegan, however it means you should make a conscious effort to reduce your meat and dairy consumption on the whole.
The British Dietetic Association have recently launched a campaign called One Blue Dot to help guide dietitians (and the general public) to help make better environmental food choices. The main points are below:
Reduce your meat and dairy consumption. Anything less than what you are eating now is a great start! This is particularly red meat and dairy (cheese, milk and yogurt). So try to have moderate meat and dairy intake
Drink less fruit juice (which to be fair we don’t need!)
Eat less sugary food and confectionary
Eat responsibly sourced fish
Cut out processed meat
Prioritise beans and lentils, soya (beans, mince, nuts, tofu), mycoprotein (QuornTM), nuts and seeds.
Eat organic when you can (to help the soil and eco-systems)
Interestingly and wonderfully, a diet that is beneficial for our environment is also a diet that is beneficial for our health. So making eco-consious choices are also healthy choices (which is fantastic).
Our food packaging
The best way to reduce our plastic packaging is to try and not buy food on the go, or buy pre-made and pre-packaged meals (think pre-chopped fruit, pre-prepared salads, plastic wrapped snacks). The more meals we prepare at home, the less plastic packaging we tend to produce.
It is so important that you make a conscious effort to not buy fruit and veg in plastic, and where possible you try and buy food or drinks in tin/can or glass as opposed to plastic (they can be recycled more easily). See below for a few easy food and non-food swaps to help the environment!
Always carry a reusable water bottle with you, I have a cheap metal one I purchased on amazon!
Carry a reusable tea/coffee cup with you, like Keepcup
Make your own meals in advance or eat at home, try not to buy pre-made meals or pre-cut food
Carry material tote bags with you, or bags for life
Try to minimise your food waste, however food waste you can’t avoid - compost or put it into your local council food waste bin
Stop using straws, or swap to metal reusable straws
Stop buying plastic drinks bottles, swap to the can alternatives
Buy loose fruit and vegetables, and buy loose bread. Keep your bread fresh using something like bees wax wrap
Make your own granola bars, bread, cakes etc. (buy your ingredients in paper - like flour, sugar, butter, eggs and recycle these or if you have a fire use these as fire starters!)
Buy in bulk and not individually wrapped (i.e nuts and seeds)
Visit food markets/farmers markets to but bread out of plastic - you can slice it yourself and keep the the freezer.
Swap dishwasher tablets wrapped in plastic to water-degradable ones
Other great lifestyle tips for the environment, include resposible fashion (only buying what you need and recycling what you don’t), taking public transport over driving when you can, cycle and walk more. If we can all make some of these changes together we will make a difference.