Your food choices can have a powerful impact on your health, the environment, and the well-being of communities and animals. By choosing sustainable options, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint, promote healthier living, support small farms and rural communities, and protect the welfare of animals and workers.
When you purchase produce from a farmer’s market nearby, you are essentially taking a step towards diverting your funds from the industrialized food industry. The money you spend on fair-trade coffee helps promote fair working conditions for coffee farmers.
If you’re feeling uncertain about where to find ethically and sustainably sourced food, don’t worry! A simple Google search will provide you with countless fantastic options. Additionally, you can explore cooking with locally-sourced ingredients, eating seasonally, preserving the products you purchase, cultivating your own edible garden, and reducing your dependence on convenience. There are plenty of ways to make a positive impact on your health and the environment, so go ahead and take that first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle!
As important as eating sustainably is, managing your food waste is just as crucial. According to Stop Wasting Food Movement, we waste and lose 1.3 billion tons of food, which is sufficient to feed 3 billion people. It’s a matter of great concern that so much food is going to waste while many people are still starving.
Furthermore, every year, the European Union wastes a staggering 88 million tonnes of food. This is a significant amount of food that could have been put to better use.
So, the question is: how do you change your habits?
Helpful tips to reduce food waste when cooking
Ever wondered what are the benefits of reducing food waste? To start, you can save money from buying less food. You’re also lowering your carbon footprint; preventing pollution involved in growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food; and you’re supporting your community.
So, what should you keep in mind when cooking at home?
- Only buy what you need. This means you may make more visits to the grocery store or plan your meals in advance. When it comes to cooking, use smaller plates and don’t over serve. You should also save (and eat!) your leftovers, and store food properly so it doesn’t rot.
- Make sure your fridge and freezer is clutter-free with everything inside kept neat and visible. To improve your habits, keep track of your waste and donate any excess to food banks, charities and local farms.
- If you have organic waste such vegetable peels, fruit pulp from juicing, coffee grounds or grains, compost the leftover materials rather than throwing them in the bin. Creating a compost prevents your food scraps from being dumped in a landfill, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases created.
Tips to reduce food wastage when eating out
If you’re regularly eating out, it’s worth understanding how much waste some restaurants and cafes generate. Many establishments are more focused on customer satisfaction and profits as opposed to waste, so it’s in your hands to make a difference. If you’re committed to eating sustainably, do some research before you go out to find an eatery that complements your choices.
If you’re looking to reduce waste, there are a few simple things you can do when dining out. Opting for smaller plates or sharing meals is a great start. Many restaurants serve huge portions, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. Another option is to ask your waiter to hold off on food items you won’t eat, or even share that you’re trying to live a low-waste lifestyle. These small changes can make a big impact in reducing waste.
Try to eat at restaurants with good sustainability practices (there are many making strides in various areas). By the same token, avoid fast food and buffet-style establishments – think about how much packaging goes to waste!
Don’t forget there’s no shame in bringing home leftovers. If you’re worried about packaging waste, simply bring your own containers. And even if you don’t plan to eat the leftovers, you can always give them to someone in need (pets included if it’s safe for them to eat).
By reducing food waste, you can not only save money but also play a role in improving your local community. Making mindful and sustainable choices about food can contribute towards a brighter and healthier future for all. Let’s embrace this possibility and take action for a better tomorrow.