4 Easy Ways You Can Start Eating More Sustainably

Many of us want to live a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle. However, it can be hard to know where to start. After all, we can’t all grow our food and power homes with solar energy. There’s good news, though! Sustainable eating isn’t all that difficult. With some minor adjustments to the way you shop, it’s doable — even if you’re on a tight budget or short on time. Learning how to eat sustainably can benefit the planet, your health, and your budget! Here are four easy ways to eat more sustainably and why it’s worth the effort.

What is eating sustainably so important?

A diet is sustainable when the food you eat is grown, harvested, processed, and brought to market in a way that isn’t harmful to the planet. The goal is to preserve our ecosystem and natural resources as much as possible while still enjoying a varied, healthy diet.

Sadly, emissions created during food production are causing immense damage to the environment. They’re causing even more harm than transportation emissions. And it’s not only emissions that are creating a problem. 

Industrial farming is also using tons of land reserved for forests and wildlife, not to mention the overuse of water and other natural resources. This type of high-intensity farming also requires massive amounts of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that end up in the environment.

Beyond these concerns for our planet, industrialized farming is also producing nutritionally inadequate and even harmful food to our health. Many experts believe that our food system is responsible for increasing chronic disease and lower life-expectancy rates. Choosing to eat sustainably is the best way to support farmers trying to move away from industrialized factory farming.

4 Easy Ways To Eat More Sustainably

1. Buy organic whenever possible.

Buying organic is a win-win for you and the environment. Ideally, everything you put into your body would be organic. Unfortunately, organic produce can cost more than conventionally grown produce, so purchasing exclusively organic can be expensive.

If you’re on a budget, the easiest way to be more sustainable is to prioritize what you buy organic. Certain fruits and vegetables, known as the “Dirty Dozen,” should always be purchased organic. This includes:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Salad greens
  • Spinach
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apples

If you’re not on a plant-based diet, consider switching to organic dairy, eggs, and meat, as well. Factory farms load their animals up with everything from antibiotics to hormones, and nobody wants to be eating that. Factory farming is also a significant greenhouse gas producer, which is believed to be causing global warming and climate change.

Sticking to organic vitamins can also make a big difference. Synthetic vitamins are full of chemicals, and they don’t come from sustainable sources. Organic brands like SmartyPants Vitamins make a point of sourcing their ingredients through sustainable methods.  They’re also more transparent about what’s actually in their products. And, they are Clean Label Project certified, so you know their products are pure.

2. Support local farmers.

Hit up your local farmer’s markets and get to know your local farmers. Knowing where your food comes from is a critical part of eating sustainably. When you purchase food face to face from the farmer, you can ask if it is sustainable.

Buying local is also the best way to ensure that you’re getting the freshest food possible, which means it will taste better and be more nutritious. Food is fuel and nourishment for your body, so it only makes sense to purchase food that will provide you the most benefit.

It’s also important to know that when you purchase food at your grocery store, there’s a good chance it was grown hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Food transported over great distances requires wasteful packaging to protect it during transport, not to mention the massive amounts of pollution produced by shipping vehicles.

3. Say no to plastic packaging.

Single-use plastic packaging, especially plastic water bottles, is a massive problem for our environment. Not only is it wasteful, but it’s often not recyclable. 

Even worse, plastic that sits in the heart of your car or a transport vehicle can begin to break down. It causes the chemicals it’s made from to leak into the food or beverage inside. Nobody wants nasty toxins in their food!

When you’re doing your grocery shopping, choose products that come with minimal packaging. Opt for paper or cardboard plastic whenever possible. Always carry a reusable water bottle, so you’re not forced to drink out of a plastic one.

And, while you’re at it, ditch the plastic grocery bags and make the switch to reusable ones if you haven’t already.

4. Buy your staples in bulk.

Buying your staples in bulk is smart for two reasons: it cuts back on the amount of packaging that ends up in the landfill, and it usually saves you money. TU Interactive can help you learn how to save money after you leave the store. Even better, bring your reusable containers or bags to the bulk food section, and you can eliminate the need for disposable packaging. 

Seasonings, nuts, dried fruit, pasta, grains, beans, and many other delicious staples are available in bulk at many grocers and health food stores. When you get them home, be sure to store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place so they don’t go bad before you can use them up.

Making significant changes to your lifestyle takes time and commitment. However, if you’re serious about doing your part to take care of the planet, it’s a rewarding practice. While eating sustainably may require some inconvenience, it helps not only the earth but also your health. So it’s worth it!

Featured image via Maarten van den Heuvel on Pexels



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.