What can you eat to reduce your carbon footprint?

The old saying goes that you are what you eat. If you want to improve your carbon footprint and help guide the world towards a sustainable future, what you consume will be critical.

Livestock make up 10 per cent of all our greenhouse emissions, and as the population grows, the need for more livestock will as rise as well. With the global population tipped to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, that means an extra 120,000 livestock will be required on current consumption rates.

That doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but it does highlight our need to watch what we eat for a carbon neutral future. Here are some tips that you can easily apply in your next grocery shop without having to totally re-invent the wheel at the dinner table.

Meat Free Monday 

To reduce emissions from livestock, we are going to have to reduce the amount of meat that we eat. This doesn’t have to be a chore, though.

Many households are adopting meat-free Monday as an opportunity to experiment with healthy meal options. You can try a range of cuisines from around the world – there are some simple, tasty options like curry that the whole family will love. In many cases, they won’t even notice the meat is missing.

Better food management 

It is not just what you eat that counts – it is what you don’t. Food that is thrown away as waste ends up in landfill, where it creates methane that is harmful to our atmosphere. When you consider that the average human wastes between 194–389 kg of food every year, there is plenty of room to develop better efficiencies.

For the food that does go to waste, consider a composting system which will give you a natural fertiliser and healthy gardens.

Eat more fibre 

It is not only animals that produce emissions – humans are just as guilty of it. You can improve your digestive system and reduce your own personal emissions by adding more fibre to your diet.

Grow your own veggies 

This is beneficial on so many levels. By growing your own, you are reducing the amount of pesticides and harmful, chemical-loaded fertilisers being used.

Having your own veggie gardens also means you are far more likely to eat fresh greens. This is a great family activity and encourages healthy ways of life for your children. You can’t lose.

Purchase locally produced food 

Heading to the local market is a great way to get the freshest produce, bread, eggs, fish and meats in some cases. You will be supporting your local community – and you will also be helping to limit emissions from the transport industry, which hauls food around the country and into major supermarkets.

Avoid plastic 

Have you seen those trays of fruit and vegetables that are layered in plastic? Don’t purchase those. Fossil fuels are required to create plastics, which then end up in our waterways to cause even more environmental destruction.

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