Often eating healthy is attached to a hefty price tag. But sometimes we overlook that eating healthy leads to eating sustainably, and eating sustainably leads a healthier Earth. This process economically benefits us all. With that in mind here are 7 ways to eat more sustainably.

Consume less red meat

One pound of beef requires roughly 1800 gallons of water to produce. That fact alone is staggering. However, the overall production of red meat has major environmental consequences beyond an enormous water footprint.

Feedlots guzzle wasteful amounts of land, grain, and fertilizer, while animal flatulence has a notable contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions. We’re not kidding. Cow farts actually contribute to climate change.

Veggie Burger

Photo: Gianna Ciaramello via Unsplash

Buy locally-sourced and in-season products

Transporting food globally requires fuel-consuming vehicles that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases. In addition, shipping wastes a large amount of packaging materials such as paper, plastic, and Styrofoam. Buying locally-sourced goods can greatly reduce waste and emissions as the food doesn’t need to travel long distances. Buying in-season produce lowers the impact associated with storing food for long periods.

Farmer's Market Stand

Photo: Caroline Attwood via Unsplash

Start your own window box

Window boxes are a great sustainable alternative for those without yard or porch space. Healthy vegetables, fruits, and herbs can all be easily grown in a window box, and self-production greatly reduces the amount of packaging waste and transportation emissions. In addition, buying seeds only requires a one-time annual purchase for months of food. An easy and delicious way to eat more sustainably.

Herb Garden

Photo: Suzette via Flickr

Eat everything you have!

Yes, this sounds obvious. However, an average household wastes about 30% of its food. The entire global population wastes about 1 trillion USD worth of food. Always try to look out for ways you could be wasting food. For example, don’t throw out pizza crust! For more information check out 10 Practical Ways to Cut Food Waste From Your Life.

Food waste

Photo: Del Barrett via Unsplash

Try to avoid using plastics

Plastic pollution seriously harms society and the environment. Just check your local waterway. Bringing your own bags to the grocery store can go a long way in reducing bag waste. Also storing food in glass containers and cooking with stainless steel or pure cast iron can help reduce harder plastic pollution. These strategies also significantly prevent contact with the undesirable chemicals BPA (Bisphenol A) and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene).

Glass Containers

Photo: Rubbermaid Products via Flickr

Eat less cheese

While it seems like a less impactful substitute to meat, cheese is actually less sustainable than chicken and pork. Per pound, cheese, compared with other dairy products such as yogurt, requires a comparatively large amount of raw materials. This leads to higher carbon and methane emissions per weight of food we consume. Yes, cheese is a beloved treat for most. So, if you cannot always resist it, try to buy from a company that operates locally.

Cheese wheel

Photo: Alexander Maasch via Unsplash

Avoid palm oil

First off, palm oil is quite unhealthy as it has a higher saturated fat content than lard. Secondly, the palm oil industry directly causes unsustainable deforestation that leaves countless animals isolated, injured, or dead.

Unfortunately, palm oil is hard to spot at the grocery store. It is usually inconsistently labeled and hidden in fine print. The best way to avoid palm oil altogether is to buy products that clearly specify what type of oil is used. If you’re unsure, you can always contact the company directly and ask. For more information on how to spot palm oil check out Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil?

Oil palm fruits

Photo: CIFOR via Flickr

We hope this easy guide helps you eat more sustainably!

Also read:

10 Practical Ways to Cut Food Waste From Your Life

How to Make Your Fab Summer Cookout Greener