Over the past couple of years there has been a lot of emphasis on reducing your carbon footprint through every day actions. Many environmental experts recommend walking or biking more to reduce carbon emissions, being conscious of leaving water running or keeping the lights on. However, simply by altering a few dietary habits you can help the planet and even help yourself! Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint just through food alone:
- Focus on Food Waste: Yes, wasting food contributes to one of the greatest greenhouse gas emissions. The World Life Foundation notes that 11% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from food waste! Some of the best ways to reduce your own personal food waste is to only purchase food you will eat before they go bad. Try planning out meals in advance and only buy items needed for those recipes. This way you won’t find old lemons and mushy cauliflower taking up space in your fridge!
- Go Package Free: When buying food, look for produce without plastic. Reducing single use plastic is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also bring your own reusable bags to the market or grocery store or use glass containers to store food. But if you do use plastic produce bags, please recycle them. Fun fact: some grocers offer completely compostable bags!
- Incorporate Meatless Mondays: Limiting meat consumption is a great way to reduce one's carbon footprint. A lot of the harmful emissions released into the air come from livestock production. On Monday’s opt for pasta and marinara sauce with a plant-based protein, have a veggie bowl or veggie pizza night, or make vegetarian burritos! The possibilities are endless!
- Pick More Produce: Eating more fiber rich foods like fruits and vegetables can improve planetary health and human health. A diet high in fiber emits the lowest greenhouse gas emissions . Here at Nutrition for Longevity we promote incorporating more plant forward foods into ones diet. Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is a great way to focus on plant fuel and reduce harmful emissions in the process.
- Get a Green Thumb: Not only is growing your own food a great way to reduce stress and develop a new hobby, it is another way to reduce your carbon footprint! No matter if you have an apartment or full backyard, having a small garden to plant herbs, tomatoes or jalapenos is a great way to feel more connected to your food and help the planet too. Having a garden reduces the amount of plastic purchased at the store!
- Stock Up Seasonally: One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy locally and seasonally. Buying local food can help reduce food miles, which is the mileage that comes with transporting produce and other types of food to grocery stores. By eating seasonally you help local growers because they are supplying you with the fresh fruits and veggies that they grow during that particular season. In addition, by stocking up seasonally you maximize the nutritional content of your produce because it's not sitting in a grocery store for days on end!
Fight climate change by preventing food waste. World Wildlife Fund. https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/fight-climate-change-by-preventing-food-waste#:~:text=Today%2C%20an%20estimated%20one%2Dthird,the%20world%20goes%20to%20waste.&text=And%20if%20food%20goes%20to,if%20we%20stop%20wasting%20food. Accessed April 27, 2021.