Each of us contributes to the impact that our food system has on the planet. We can all commit to making the world a healthier place to live, through small but achievable changes to our diets.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are good for our health, and most come with a low environmental impact. There are exceptions, as some require a lot of resources to transport and keep fresh, so eating these less frequently can increase the sustainability of our diets. Examples include:
2. Eat locally, when in season
Locally-grown foods can be a sustainable choice, if we choose those that are in season where we live. The cost of producing or storing local foods beyond their natural growing seasons could be higher than shipping foods that are in season somewhere else.
3. Avoid eating more than needed, especially treats
Consuming only what we need reduces demands on our food supply by decreasing excess production. It also helps to keep us healthy and avoid excessive weight gain. Limiting snacking on energy-dense low-nutrient foods and paying attention to portion sizes are all useful ways to avoid unnecessary overconsumption.
4. Swap animal proteins for plant-based ones
In general, more resources are needed to produce animal-based proteins (especially beef), compared to plant-based proteins (such as beans, pulses and some grains). Eating a more plant-based diet also brings health benefits: plant-based food provides more fibre, and has a lower saturated fat content, both of which can contribute to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Choose whole grains
Non-refined cereals are generally less resource intensive to produce than refined ones as they require fewer processing steps. They are also good for health, reducing our risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and overweight.