Sustainable eating means eating whole foods that come from a local source. Most sustainable foods do not have labels and do not come in a box. In addition, they are foods that minimize harm to the environment during the growth and production process. Locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as protein from animals that are raised in a humane way by independent farmers, are considered sustainable foods.
Sustainable eating provides a healthier lifestyle for you and your family versus buying processed, boxed meals, often found on your neighborhood grocery store shelves.
It may be easier than you think to put healthier and more environmentally friendly meals on your dinner table. Follow these five tips to make sustainable eating a part of your everyday life.
Grow your own vegetables
Even if you live in an apartment or have a very small yard, it may be possible to grow your own vegetables. There is tons of information available on container gardening and growing in small spaces. Start with just a few plants and grow vegetables you know your family will eat and are easy to prepare. As you become more knowledgeable about gardening, add different varieties.
Buy from local farmers and/or farmers markets
You can practice sustainable eating by purchasing your produce and meats from your local farmers if you are unable to grow your own vegetables (or just not interested in gardening). Most communities offer farmers’ markets through the summer season, and some cities in warmer climates offer farmers markets year-round.
Learn the art of cooking
While it is possible to practice sustainable eating without knowing how to cook, a little cooking experience will take you far in your goals of eating whole and unprocessed foods. While you can begin with fruit and vegetable salads, eventually you might want to add roasted vegetables or stir-fries to your menu. Learning to prepare a few tried and true recipes will help you expand your family's go-to menus.
Eat with the seasons
Fruit and vegetables taste much better in season, and they are far less expensive during that time. Adjust your eating habits to eat foods when they are in their prime. Eat apples and squash in the fall, and savor watermelon and berries in the summer.
Learn to preserve and store food
Although canning and preserving food is a lost art, this domestic skill seems to be making a comeback. Canning and preserving foods when they are in season lets you enjoy many types of food all year long. You will also know exactly what is in your food and can ensure there are no unknown or strange ingredients you cannot pronounce. Begin by preserving simple items (such as jam) and progress to more difficult tasks, such as canning meats.
With a little patience and practice, adopting a sustainable lifestyle around your dinner table is an effort that will yield big results in your family's health and local environment.