When we hear the word sustainability, we often think of vegan, or plant-based eating as the only way to be sustainable. While this is one method, it is far from the only one, as there are numerous others to consider. Some of these practises require only minor changes in daily life. These practises can help you reduce your carbon footprint while also improving your nutrition during fertility and pregnancy.
Here are some top tips to help shop and eat more sustainably:
- Cut back on plastic use -using fewer plastic bags and containers means exposing yourself to fewer Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Not only that but reducing the use of plastic items is also better for the environment. Consider food packaging and try to eat more whole foods, such as a piece of whole fruit rather than sliced up fruit in plastic containers. Try buying dry foods in bulk, such as nuts, rice, or quinoa, and storing them in glass or metal containers.
- Meal plan to help reduce food waste – If you discover that you have more food waste than you would like on a weekly basis, think about how you can buy less in the future. Meal planning is a great idea here- plan your week in advance and make a little extra in your evening meal for your next day lunch- win win!
- Shop local – Shopping locally and purchasing locally sourced food can help reduce carbon emissions caused by transportation. It also helps to support local farmers and businesses. Look for a farmer’s market or local farm shops in your area. Farmer’s markets sell locally grown and/or raised foods that are typically delivered directly from the farm to the market for your purchase. Many local stores and product labels indicate whether or not a product is sourced locally. Remember to take a reusable bag with you when you go!
- Eat with the seasons – Most fruits and vegetables grow and mature at specific times of the year, so those are the best times to eat them. When these fruits, vegetables, and legumes are in season, they contain the most nutrients (and taste better, too!). If you have any left over make into soups, stocks, juices, sauces and freeze.
- Reducing your use of single-use plastic products at home can help the environment while also lowering your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. A reusable water bottle and glass or silicone food storage containers would be excellent choices for this.
By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)