Practical tips to make our diet more sustainable

Dr Hamna Owais

Updated on:

Practical tips to make our diet more sustainable

Environmentally sustainable diets provide benefits for both the planet and our health.

Why is it important and how can we make our diet more sustainable?

Is it necessary to follow an exclusively vegetarian diet to protect the environment?

Which foods of plant origin should we prefer?

Practical tips to make our diet more sustainable

In recent years, due to the environmental crisis, there is more and more talk about how to make our diet more environmentally friendly and more sustainable.

By sustainable nutrition we mean the set of food choices that will have a reduced environmental impact, respect and protect the sustainability of the ecosystem, while at the same time contributing to the adequate nutrition of our body.

Why is it important and how can we make our diet more sustainable?

Environmentally sustainable diets provide benefits for both the planet and our health. We can reduce our carbon footprint and help our planet by following a few simple steps like the ones below.

Reducing the consumption of red meat

Eating more plant foods

Reducing food waste

Moderate consumption of higher fat dairy products

Is it necessary to follow an exclusively vegetarian diet to protect the environment?

An environmentally sustainable diet does not have to completely exclude meat and dairy. You can limit the consumption of animal products on a daily basis or have some days of the week without consuming animal products. In addition, you can base your diet on more plant-based protein foods such as legumes, nuts, soy products and less animals. Also prioritize lower-fat and lower-sugar dairy options, such as milk and yogurt, over ice cream and desserts.

Which foods of plant origin should we prefer?

Eating high fiber cereal is best for the environment and our health.

Choose whole wheat bread, oatmeal, oats, pasta and whole grains.

Aim to eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

Choose local and seasonal produce and reduce your consumption of imported or greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables.

Avoid ready-made and packaged fruits, vegetables and salads.

In addition, it is important to limit the consumption of processed products, as their production contributes significantly to the emission of greenhouse gases. Foods such as cookies, chips, chocolate and other processed snacks are important limit to protect our health and the planet. The same goes for packaged fruit juices and soft drinks, which is why it’s important to choose tap water as the most sustainable source of hydration.

Finally, it is worth paying attention to food waste as 70% of food is wasted at home. A grocery list before shopping at the local and supermarket will help us plan our week and buy the quantities of food we are going to consume during the week.

Dr. Efstathia Papada, RD

Dietitian-Nutritionist, MSc, PhD

Graduate of Harokopio University &

University College London (UCL)

Doctor of Harokopio University

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