The food we eat affects the planet in many ways. Here you will find tips on how to eat environmentally smart and healthy food, something that usually goes hand in hand.
5 easy ways to eat environmentally friendly
1. Leave the base green – enjoy lots of food and drink from the plant kingdom. It is the most important and easiest thing you can do to eat climate smart and healthy.
2. Top with a little meat & fish – we eat so much meat today that it affects both our health and our planet. Reduce the amount and choose organic meat or locally produced natural beef. Make sure the fish is certified.
3. Switch to eco – the more ecological, the less toxins and fertilizers are spread. Good for workers, animals, nature and planetary health. And you avoid pesticide residues in your food.
4. Go smart to the store – your drive to the store generally affects the climate more than your grocer’s trip to the store. Walk or bike as often as you can, or plan your purchases so you can pull down on the car ride.
5. Throw less – one-third of all food is thrown away. Get off the waste train! Plan your purchases, use leftovers and keep track of the life of the food. Good for your wallet and the planet.
Meat and dairy
Today, the meat and dairy industry affects the climate roughly as much as all the world’s cars, buses, boats and aircraft together. Meat consumption has increased by a lot in the world. This has increased the risk of bowel cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Reduce the amount of meat and dairy products – start by changing some dishes a week to vegetarian. Remove meat dishes with roots, beans or lentils. If your imagination or knowledge pushes, take the help of recipes! Most well-stocked grocery stores now offer lots of green, simple recipes.
Choose organic meat or local natural beef – when (or if) you want to eat meat. You contribute to better animal health and the spread of less toxins and fertilizers. You also contribute to biodiversity, thus a healthier nature that can withstand stress better, such as extreme weather.
Choose organic dairy products – also try vegetable varieties, such as oatmeal made from Swedish oats.
Fish and seafood
Seafood contains a lot of nutrients that are important to our health. But some fish contain high levels of toxins. And the large-scale fishing industry is struggling hard on the seas, including overfishing and bottom trawling. Therefore, it is important to choose cool fish as a consumer.
Choose eco-labeled fish – keep track of the labels MSC, ASC, and other labels. Then you get fish from species that do not risk becoming extinct.
Check out WWF’s fish guide – choosing fresh fish may be more difficult to find eco-labeled. Then check that the fish gets green light in WWF’s fish guide.
Let salmon be a luxury – salmon farms require feed made from large quantities of other fish. It’s a waste of fish. The cultivations can also cause local eutrophication and spread diseases affecting the wild fish in the area. Therefore, let the salmon be a luxury as in the past, instead of everyday food. Instead, try varying yourself by trying other varieties than you are used to, so the pressure on a few species is reduced.
Eat mussels – they are nutritious and environmentally friendly. Because mussels do not require any feed but instead plankton out of the water, mussel cultivation helps to reduce the eutrophication of the sea.
The herring is good – it is useful, does not contain high levels of environmental toxins and there is plenty of herring in the sea.
Keep track of the fish with poison – some fish can contain environmental toxins and are therefore not good to eat too often, especially not for children, pregnant women or women of childbearing age. Recommendations for how much fish you can eat can be found in the online.
Fruit and vegetables
It is good for both health and the planet to eat lots of vegetables, fruits and berries. Coarse vegetables such as root vegetables, cabbage, beans, peas, lentils and onions are extra good for the climate. At least half a kilo of fruit and vegetables is recommended per day for an adult. This reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Coarse vegetables are superfoods – root vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, onions and similar coarse vegetables are extra climate smart, full of important nutrients and can be stored for a long time.
Choose organic –which means less toxins and fertilizers. Good for workers, animals, nature and planetary health. And you avoid pesticide residues in your food. Grapes, citrus, bananas and other tropical fruits are the hardest sprayed.
Eat more beans, lentils, and peas – so you get really climate-smart protein, especially if they replace part of your meat consumption.
Take care of fruits, berries, and delicate vegetables – store them right and don’t buy more than you use to reduce waste.
Potatoes, cereals, and rice
Potatoes and cereal products – pasta, bread, and cereals – have a low environmental impact compared to meat and fish. Water-soaked rice crops cause significantly greater emissions than cereal and potato crops, due to the release of methane gas from the soil.
However, when comparing portion sizes, the difference between rice and potatoes is not as great. This is because potatoes do not change weight when cooking while rice more than doubles their weight. The difference between rice and cereal products is also less if you include the energy that is used in processing pasta, couscous, bread and more. Nevertheless, a portion of rice has a greater impact on the climate than a portion of potatoes or pasta.
For your health, it is best to choose unsaturated fat, such as rapeseed and olive oil. It is also most favorable for the environment. Saturated fat, which is found in butter, coconut fat and palm oil, for example, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Choose canola or olive oil. Rapeseed oil is best from an environmental point of view and also good for health.
Avoid palm oil, which is worse for both health and the environment. Much of the oil palm cultivation takes place on land that has been rainforest. When rainforest is harvested and the land is cultivated, large amounts of greenhouse gases are released.
It is preferable to reduce the amount of butter, as butter causes greater greenhouse gas emissions than canola and olive oil. This is partly due to the fact that butter comes from cows that emit large amounts of methane gas.
In many countries, we have access to healthy water directly from the tap, unlike in many other countries. Therefore, choosing bottled water is often an unnecessary environmental burden, even if the load is relatively small. So this is not where you should put your focus, but it is good to think about.
First and foremost, choose tap water – it has high quality and is inexpensive.
If you buy packaged water, keep in mind that long shipments cause greater greenhouse gas emissions than short ones. Local bottled water is therefore preferred over brands from other countries.