Most of us, for one reason or another, try our best to eat healthy food on a regular basis. However, eating nutritious food does not always mean that we’re also eating sustainably. Today it is just as important to eat sustainably as it is to eat a balanced diet.

While it may not seem like it, doing your part to eat sustainably can have a huge impact on the environment. And what’s more, you won’t need to make any life–altering changes to do so.

A few small adjustments are all you’ll need to make. More than anything else, having a little more awareness is the key to a sustainable diet. The SoBe Vegan fam put together a list of easy steps to eat more sustainably. Enjoy!

 

1.      Eat less animal products.

While we may be biased, most people eat meat on a regular basis. Last year, it was estimated that the average American would eat the equivalent of 800 burgers in meat per year.

If people ate just one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles. Moreover, making the switch to a plant-based diet will cut your carbon footprint in half.

Aside from individual health benefits, going vegan helps leave more fresh water available to the planet, reduces the amount of methane pumped into the atmosphere, and saves land from being taken over for animal agriculture.

If you’re not willing to make the full switch to a plant-based diet and eliminating meat, try eating one less burger or chicken sandwich per week. And, if you’re not willing to give that up, head to SoBe Vegan and get a delicious burger, free of guilt!

 

2.      Quit purchasing plastic water bottles.

Plastic is wasteful and often not recycled, leaving a destructive effect on our planet. Single-use water bottles are one of the main ways that plastic has infiltrated our daily lives.

Plastic is also highly unreliable. When a plastic bottle is heated or warped, perhaps when sitting in your car on a hot day, the chemicals that make up its composition can leak into the water. Let’s pass on the toxin water, shall we?

 

3.      Buy as much seasonal produce as possible.

The best way to support your local farmers and businesses is by buying as much seasonal produce as possible. Seasonal produce does not require as much artificial help in growing, so there will be less interference by pesticides and chemicals.

While “exotic” mangoes may seem more appealing, avoiding eating foods that have been shipped in from abroad cuts down on food mileage and thus reduces our carbon footprint.

 

4.      Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

Another way plastic creeps into our daily routine is via plastic grocery bags. Not only are they prone to tearing and spillage, they are having a detrimental effect on our planet.

Plastic bags take over a thousand years to begin disintegrating and can survive pretty much anything, yet they are estimated to kill between one hundred thousand and one million sea animals each year.

While they aren’t going away anytime soon, one person’s switch from plastic to reusable grocery bags can save up to 22,000 plastic bags in a lifetime. Many grocery stores now charge to bag plastic, and others offer discounts when you bring reusable bags.

 

5.      Buy Fair Trade Certified Foods.

Fair Trade is a global movement that is invested in improving the working conditions of farmers. Furthermore, Fair Trade pledges to hold farmers accountable for the environmental standards they must comply with.

Fair Trade products are made with sustainably sourced soil and water and do not employ the use of GMOs. Most Fair Trade products are also organic.

 

6.      Shop in Bulk!

Shopping for food in bulk can reap many benefits and help you live more sustainably. When you buy in bulk, not only do you save money and utilize great deals, but the food you get will have required less transportation to get to you.

Moreover, buying in bulk wastes much less packaging. In fact, if all Americans purchased bulk items once a week, we would save 26 million pounds of waste going into a landfill in one month alone.

This brings us to our final point, which is to:

 

7.      Eat less processed and packaged foods.

As mentioned, waste from packaged and processed foods has a detrimental effect on the planet. Presently, fruits, veggies, and nuts take up a meager 2% of America’s crop acreage. Sixty percent of it is dedicated to cereal grains that are harvested for packaged foods and edible oils, both of which have low nutritional value.

As a result, we are unknowingly eating a lot of food that is made from products that waste resources to make and take over land that could be used for fresh produce.

The less we eat these products, the less demand there will be for them.

 

Eating sustainably may seem like a large feat, but it can truly be as simple as paying just a little more attention. By following these steps, you can do your part to take better care of our planet, all while eating a healthier, delectable diet!