Four ways to make your food a shade greener

If you are trying to live a green lifestyle, then you already know how difficult it can be. Making sure that you are recycling properly and using resources responsibly can be all-consuming burdens. However, if you really want to help the environment, then you also need to evaluate what you are putting on your dinner table. Food production is responsible for a staggering percentage of pollution, but you can do your part to lessen its impact.

Here are some ways to make your food choices more sustainable.

Buy local

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When you buy food that was grown or raised by local farmers, the benefit is twofold. First, you minimize the environmental impact of production, packaging, and transportation because your food is not made in a factory, does not need to be preserved or packaged, and burns little, if any, fuel during transportation to the selling site. Secondly, you get the chance to speak directly with the people who are providing you locally grown food. When you are in tune with the growing process, you will begin to think of your food less as a commodity and more as a product of the earth.

Buy from companies that care

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It would be a herculean task to entirely eliminate all processed foods from your diet overnight. Even if you did so, it would be difficult for most people to maintain such a lifestyle long-term. Instead of adopting a drastic change that makes you miserable, you can make a smaller change that still makes a difference. Do your research on different food companies to find out if they have eco-friendly production processes. You will feel better about where you are putting your money if you buy from companies that take sustainability seriously.

For example, Hampton Creek is a food tech company that has been conducting extensive research into the properties of plant proteins for several years. Their goal is to find ways to replace animal products in classic foods with plant products. This is a major piece of their overall plan to rejuvenate the way food is produced and distributed so that it is healthier, tastier, and better for the environment. With such companies, you can enjoy salad dressings, cookies, and more knowing that you are giving your business to people who want to make the world a better place.

Shift your focus

Young asian woman holding and eating fresh vegetable salad on white background

Eating more sustainably might mean changing the quantities of the foods you eat. The production of meat, eggs, and milk is responsible for a third of the world’s water usage, as well as a hefty proportion of greenhouse gases. By contrast, plant production is better for the earth and generally healthier for consumption.

With this in mind, try to incorporate more plants into your diet and reduce the amount of animal products you consume. There are a few different ways you could go about this. One way is by going vegetarian or vegan on certain days of the week. Another option is to use meat as more of an accent ingredient than as a main course. Do not be afraid to branch out into new ways of eating at least part of the time. You will almost definitely discover new recipes that you love.

Reconsider packaging

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Food packaging is helpful for transporting and preserving goods, but it is not always environmentally friendly. Many types of food packaging mix materials, such as plastics and metals. The end products are not pure materials and are therefore not recyclable. In fact, food packaging makes up nearly 23 percent of landfill content. To avoid contributing to the growth of that figure, remember to consider the packaging of the foods you purchase.

Make it a point to buy foods with packaging that you know you can recycle or reuse, and avoid single-use containers. Better yet, buy foods that do not require any packaging, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Sustainable packaging does not stop once you have bought your food—you still need a way to get it home. Instead of using paper or plastic grocery bags from the store, purchase a set of reusable grocery bags that you can use every time you shop.
Eating more sustainably is not only better for the environment, but it is also better for your health. Do yourself and the world you live in a favor and make some changes to your food choices. You might not notice changes overnight, but by altering some of your personal habits you can help heal our home and build a more stable future.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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