Food Waste and Sustainability
Sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword lately, as we are all becoming more and more aware of its importance in protecting the health of our planet. But what does it mean to have a sustainable diet? And what changes can we make to adopt a more sustainable diet? Read below to find out!
Sustainable healthy diets have been described by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation as “dietary patterns that promote all dimensions of individuals’ health and wellbeing; have low environmental pressure and impact; are accessible, affordable, safe and equitable; and are culturally acceptable”. As you can see, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to sustainable healthy diets, and these involve both our own health and that of our planet.
In the UK and worldwide, as much as 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are linked to food production, which plays a role in global warming. Therefore, changes to our food choices and how we prepare our food are key steps that we can make to combat climate change. Often, we do not need to make drastic changes to our diet and lifestyle. It is the small things that we do on a regular basis that can make a big difference.
One major factor to consider when it comes to sustainability is food waste. Every year in the UK, 10 million tonnes of food that is produced is wasted, with 71% of this waste occurring within the home. However, changes to our actions can achieve a real difference here, as 60% of food waste is avoidable.
Below are some tips that may help you to reduce food waste and achieve a more sustainable, healthy diet.
· Try to plan out your meals and make a shopping list accordingly. Avoid the temptation of promotional deals in supermarkets such as “3 for 2” or “buy one get one free”, especially for fresh food. Unless this is something that you actually need, it may very well end up as waste.
· Choose fruit and vegetables that are in season where possible. For September, these include blackberries, raspberries, pears, aubergines, broccoli, carrots, courgettes, spinach and tomatoes, to name just a few! Try to avoid excess packaging when buying fruit and vegetables and use a reusable bag for loose ones where possible.
· Sometimes it can be difficult to buy the right amount of fresh fruit or vegetables, especially if shopping for one person. In the UK, 1.2 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables are thrown away each year! This is where frozen or canned versions can be very helpful. For example, frozen vegetables can be stored in your freezer for whenever you need them and are useful additions to many dishes, while frozen berries can make great porridge toppings. If choosing canned fruit, try to avoid those canned in syrup, as this will increase the amount of sugar present.
· If you are buying fish, try to choose those with the Marine Stewardship Council or Aquaculture Stewardship Council symbols, which indicate that they are from sustainable sources.