Tips for more sustainable eating
Use up all the left-overs
Our great-grandmothers would cry if they saw how much food we waste. Don´t let your left-overs stay in the fridge until they have to be thrown out. Make a habit of eating them while they´re still good. If you dislike eating the same thing over again, learn how to turn left-overs into a new dish. There is a multitude of recipes available online and you don´t have to be an expert chef to turn left-over potatoes into delicious hash browns or bake some potato dinner rolls.
Practise seasonal eating
You can eat more sustainably and save money by taking the seasons into account when purchasing food. Relish in the food that is seasonal right now, and avoid those that must be imported from far away or grown in heated greenhouses.
Of course, as always, there are exceptions. Some food store exceptionally well without much need to be pampered and can be enjoyed year-round.
Avoid long transports
Yes, those kiwi fruits are labelled ORGANIC but they were transported to your grocery store from the other side of the planet. Go exploring and see if you can find something grown more close to home.
Avoid air-freighted food
Some delicacies are transported by aeroplane to ensure prime freshness. They are delicious, of course, but air transport is horrible from a sustainability perspective. Maybe this New Years Eve, you can serve up some delicious local fare instead of just-in-time lobsters? Or maybe lobsters are your local fare, and you should stay clear of those imported strawberries. Taking your local situation into account is a very important aspect of sustainable eating.
Buy the right local foods
Don´t just buy local: buy local foods that are suitable for growing in your neck of the woods.
If there is four inches of snow on the ground today, those locally grown fresh tomatoes were probably grown in a greenhouse that consumes quite a lot of energy to stay warm. Cabbage, beets and carrots grown during the warmer season and stored for winter is most likely a more sustainable choice to get the vitamins you need.
If you live in a hot and arid part of the world, buying locally produced food types that require immense amounts of fresh water to be grown here might not be the most sustainable choice. Instead, look for crops and other foods that are naturally adapted to this type of environment, and forego those that were brought here from a wetter climate and have huge demands when it comes to water.
It is of course very tempting for producers to claim that their product is sustainable, eco-friendly, and so on. Therefore, we need to be sceptic consumers and do our own research. For instance, a producer selling highly unsustainable food might make a minimal donation to an obscure environmental organization and then proudly announce that on their packaging to signal their sustainability virtue.
Put your detective hat on and go look for reputable sustainability organizations and governmental authorities that let their mark/insignia be used only on products that fulfil a series of strict requirements.
Buy better coffee
Be smart about how you spend your money at the grocery store. One shelf where it does make a lot of sense to pay a bit extra for the organic stuff is the coffee shelf. Non-organic coffee is often grown using a cocktail of dangerous pesticides that is causing a variety of issues for the workers and for the local environment. A lot of coffee come from third-world countries, where law enforcement might be lax or lacking, and even forbidden pesticides might find their way to the coffee farm. Buying organic coffee authorized by a reputable organization can make a big difference.