We all want to be more sustainable, but how do we do that? Today I translated the page of the Government health Institution (Het Voedingscentrum). They use 7 steps for being more sustainable. (Would you like to read the Dutch version? Go here.)
1. Waste as little food as possible. If you buy, cook and store smartly, you don’t have to waste as much food. The food is then produced for a reason. Making a shopping list and a weekly menu helps you to do smart shopping. Custom cooking is easy with a kitchen scale or a measuring cup. And by keeping food in the right place, it will last longer. You do not have to throw away products with an expired best before date, such as dairy products. Look, smell and taste a little to judge the quality.
2. Eat less red and processed meat. Meat has a high environmental impact. Red meat in particular (beef, pork, goat and sheep) is very damaging to the environment. Therefore, replace red and processed meat with legumes such as beans, lentils or chickpeas, unsalted nuts or egg. You can also choose sustainable fish with an MSC or ASC quality mark. Replace cold cuts on bread with roasted vegetables, hummus or other vegetable spreads.
3. Don’t take more dairy and cheese than you need. For your health it is beneficial to take a few servings of dairy every day (approx. 300 – 450 ml of milk / yogurt) and about 40 grams of cheese (approx. 2 sandwiches). More is not necessary. Eating a lot of cheese in particular creates a high environmental impact. Therefore, regularly invest your sandwich with vegetables, fruit, hummus or peanut butter / nut spread.
4. Don’t eat more than you need and avoid snacks and sweets. If everyone who eats too much eats less, this will bring a lot of environmental benefits. So don’t eat more than you need. In particular, avoid unhealthy products that are high in calories such as fried snacks, chips, biscuits, cakes, candies, and ice cream. Check here how much you need, or fill in the Eetmeter.
5. Drink as little sugary drinks and alcohol as possible. Soft drinks, fruit juices and alcohol have a high climate impact and are not good for your health. Therefore, especially drink water and tea and coffee without sugar. Tap water is the least harmful to the environment. With coffee and tea you can pay attention to the Fairtrade (Max Havelaar), UTZ and Rainforest Alliance quality marks.
6. Go for whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetablesWhen putting your meal together, prefer plant-based products. Think of whole grain cereals, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, legumes, a handful of nuts and vegetable oils every day. Most plant products have a low climate load.
7. With fruit and vegetables, pay attention to origin and seasonFruit and vegetables have a low environmental impact. If you take seasonal products and pay attention to the origin, you are completely green. Choose vegetables that have a low environmental pressure all year round. Think of broccoli, red cabbage, leek, beetroot, onion, carrots, chicory and celery. Products from outside Europe that arrive by plane have a higher climate impact. This also applies to vegetables from heated greenhouses. Consult the fruit and vegetable calendar and choose for the fruit in your current month.
Hope this helped. Big shoutout to the Voedingscentrum!