If you feel an urgent need to reduce your carbon footprint and are wondering where to start, making changes to your diet is a GR8 place to start. However, cutting carbon emissions is kind of like eating healthier. We know we should do it, but it’s easier said than done. Making these small changes to your diet can make reducing your carbon footprint easier.
Start by Reducing Food Waste
Reducing how much food you waste is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Food waste is a significant contributor to your carbon footprint in many ways. The food you throw away emits methane as it decomposes. It is estimated that a staggering 428–858 pounds of food is wasted per person per year. Master the art of meal prepping, save your leftovers, and be mindful of buying only what you need are GR8 ways to help reduce food waste.
Consider Eating Locally and Seasonally
Eating locally grown food cuts out the energy used when food is transported long distances, which reduces your carbon emissions. This includes locally sourced animal products such as poultry and eggs, as well as cheese and other dairy products. You can further minimize your food carbon footprint by eating locally grown, seasonal fruit, and vegetables. Out-of-season food is often imported or grown in a greenhouse, which increases their carbon footprint.
Include More Fiber-Rich Foods
Adding more fiber-rich food to your diet will improve not only your health but also your carbon footprint. A recent study found that high in fiber-filled plants and low in sodium and saturated fats have a lower carbon footprint. Fiber-rich food may help keep you full, and so limit how many food items with a heavy carbon load that you eat.
Reduce Your Plastic Use
So, of course, we don’t eat plastic – on purpose – but a lot of our food is packed, stored, and shipped in plastic. Not to mention the plastic grocery bags. Single-use plastic is a major cause of greenhouse gases, as well as being bad for the environment and a danger to wildlife. Bring your grocery and produce bags to the store, don’t buy bottled water and drink from reusable bottles, store food in glass or silicone containers. And try to reuse everyday plastic items to keep them out of landfills.
Limit Your Meat and Dairy Consumption
Research shows that meat and dairy products have a larger carbon footprint than vegetable products. This is because livestock production accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions*. This doesn’t mean you need to go vegan, but you can incorporate a few meatless Mondays into the schedule. Or just one meat meal a day, or even go vegan for a week once in a while. To reduce dairy consumption, try substituting dairy milk with one of these milk alternatives.
We know it’s hard to make major changes to habits you’ve had your entire life. Pick one or two and build on those. You’ll soon be on your way to lessening your carbon footprint.