Digging into a tasty meal is good for the soul. However, it’s hard to find foods that are packed with flavor and nutrients and are also good for the environment. That’s where sustainable food comes in.
Conversations surrounding nutrition can easily get heated, and there’s definitely some debate to be had as to what the word “healthy” means for different people. Although we at Reel Paper may not be able to say what’s “healthy” for people, we do know a little bit about what’s healthy for the environment.
Here’s everything you need to know about choosing foods for the good of the planet!
What Exactly Is Sustainable Food?
For many, the term sustainable food may evoke thoughts of completely plant-based eating or even a patch of wheatgrass in the kitchen. While plant-based eating is, in fact, sustainable, sustainable nutrition is about more than just eating your greens.
“Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.” — Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity
Eating sustainably benefits more than just Mother Earth. It also benefits communities around the world and the generations yet to come, and it all starts with being cognizant of what you eat.
As with much of green living, sustainable food and nutrition is mostly about education. Knowing where your food came from, what’s in it, and how it was produced will allow you to make educated food choices in the future.
Understanding food labels plays a huge role in this arena. Knowing the meaning behind terms like Organic, Non-GMO, or Fair Trade is key to understanding where your food came from and the conditions under which it was produced.
Meat Alternatives & Plant-Based Protein
According to PETA, animal agriculture bears the responsibility for more greenhouse gas emissions than global transportation systems. Furthermore, cultivating these animals requires large amounts of food and water.
By reducing our consumption of animal products, we can ease the burden on the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of great plant-based proteins that are perfect for when you aren’t eating meat — which doesn’t have to be all the time.
Whether you’re looking for a meat alternative or just a straight source of plant protein, you’re in luck. These days, supermarkets carry plenty of high-quality products that taste good and are packed with protein.
Local & in-Season Produce
Eating locally and in-season makes up a big part of sustainable food and nutrition. When produce is grown locally, it’s a short trip from the farm to your table which means fewer food miles and preservatives.
Moreover, eating food that was raised nearby supports local farmers and allows them to support themselves and their families. As a result, their business can thrive and continue to feed into the community benefitting everyone.
Finding locally-produced foods is easier than you might think. Many grocery stores carry produce that was grown nearby. Additionally, a Farmers’ Market gives you the opportunity to get it from the source. The best part is that the vendor can tell everything about the product itself — it’s the pinnacle of sustainable food education.
Choose Tasty, Sustainable Food
Choosing sustainable foods can be tough and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Similar to other forms of green living, eating sustainably starts with educating yourself. Understanding the nutritional, social, and environmental impacts of your food is easy to do with a bit of research.
Whether you’re cutting back on how much meat you eat or just visiting a Farmers’ Market, there’s an easy way for everyone to eat more sustainably.
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