Written by Lacie Wever, HRSD Community Education and Outreach Specialist Published on September 15, 2022
This blog was contributed by Deb Kopecky - Wellness Specialist for HRSD
There are several steps you can take to make sure your food shopping habits are eco-friendly. From what you buy to how you buy it, all of your choices have an impact. Go beyond reusable shopping bags with these tips:
1. Eat less meat
Switching to a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact. Raising livestock is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. Cows, chickens, and pigs consume a tremendous amount of grain. This leaves less available to feed the hungry.
2. Avoid processed foods and wasteful packaging
Whenever possible, eat unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Foods that are highly processed, like chicken nuggets, pastries, and sugar-sweetened drinks often contain ingredients that have a negative impact on the environment, such as palm oil. These foods are often high in added salt, sugar, and saturated fat. It’s generally best to avoid highly-processed foods, as they’re unhealthy for both you and the planet.
Even healthy foods are often sold in wasteful packaging. For example, it’s better to buy whole apples than individually wrapped containers of organic applesauce.
3. Reduce your waste
One third of food produced every year is wasted.
Here are some tips for reducing your food waste:
- Plan your weekly meals to avoid buying more than you need.
- Check your refrigerator and pantry before you shop. Plan meals to use up what you already have on hand.
- Avoid buying in bulk if you aren't able to use it all.
- Store fruits and vegetables properly to keep them fresh longer.
- Freeze or preserve extra produce before it goes bad.
- Donate unused food to a food pantry if it would otherwise go to waste.
- Compost your food scraps to keep them out of the landfill.