Approximately 20-50 million metric tons of waste are produced around the globe every year. Only about 1/10 of this total waste build-up is reclaimed for recycling. Of this, only a small fraction actually gets recycled.
Our species is facing a sustainability crisis that could affect even one or two generations behind us. We all need to do our part to help create a better future for our planet.
One of the ways we can help play a role in sustainability is by making eco-friendly food swaps. You can often exchange a food ingredient that is expensive to the planet with an ingredient that can be sourced renewably.
In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to eat sustainably in a way that puts organic food on your table as renewable energy.
Nine Eco-Friendly Food Swaps
Eating delicious food doesn’t have to hurt the planet. Try these nine eco-friendly food swaps to make your meals cleaner for the environment. If you want to learn more about organic food options, you can click for more information here.
1. Swapping Out Red Meat
Almost everyone knows that red meat is expensive in terms of the energy costs for its production. Instead of using meat, try to use poultry, eggs, or fish for seafood. These are not created on farms that involve as much energy use as those producing red meat.
The less meat you eat, the greater impact you have on reducing our carbon footprint. It also will have a huge impact on your health. For many people, red meat is one potential culprit behind the development of many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and more.
It is true that you can find grass-fed, pasture-raised beef that is available on many grocery shelves. Much of the cost of this meat is to take into account the environmental effects of production and counteract them.
2. Blending Unique Meat Replacements
One unique option for replacing your red meat intake is a special plant-based blended combination. You can blend up rolled oats, mushrooms, and red lentils to create a healthy meat substitute for your next recipe. This particular combination is a unique replacement for typical red meat that tastes great and won’t leave you hungry either.
The more you can become creative with your blender, the more you’ll be able to find healthy and sustainable meat alternatives.
3. Pushing the Lentils
Lentils are one of the greatest superfoods on earth. They pack a variety of nutrients and have a significant amount of protein. For many people, they have a relatively neutral taste that can be used to create a meaty flavor.
They can greatly improve the overall sustainability quotient of your recipe.
One of the great things about lentils for the planet is that they can be grown almost anywhere. They do not require much water during their farming and harvesting. Plus, lentils also help to improve soil health and fertility by taking in atmospheric nitrogen.
If you can build in two or three lentil-heavy meals into your weekly menu, you will be making a huge difference to both your health and to the planet’s future.
4. Swapping Rice Varieties
White rice is a common staple in many households. However, brown rice is extremely similar to its white alternative.
The difference? Actually, brown rice is more unprocessed. This means that it is left with more vitamins and minerals and has an increased fiber count because of the retention of the outer hull.
The outer layer in white rice is removed through processing and only the inner kernel remains. While this still qualifies it as a whole grain, it does have significantly lower health benefits. Because of this extra processing step, it is also harder on the environment in terms of energy utilization.
So swap out brown rice for white, and reap the nutritional benefits.
5. Salt and Salt Blends
When you walk down the aisle of the grocery store, you will probably see a variety of spice blends available to you. However, these are highly processed and use more energy to make.
Instead, you can choose whole spices that are entirely unprocessed, and are usually much fresher. They will stay fresh for longer with a better aromatic fragrance in the kitchen.
In the same light, lemon juice is a great alternative to traditional salt. You can use lemon juice to provide a salty tang into any dish to pull out its flavor even more.
6. Incorporating Variety
This swap is more of an abstract change. If you try to eat the same thing over and over again, it’s likely that your palate will fall into the same pattern of using energy-intensive ingredients.
Instead, use each week to explore food variety and take in new vegetables and the associated nutritional benefits. It is this curiosity that helps to continue to push you forward in a sustainable direction.
The vast majority of the world’s food is generated from only a handful of plants and animal species. We can change this by showing those at the top of the production market that we want to continue to explore and build out new systems for creative ingredients.
7. Palm Oil
The production of palm oil is one of the most destructive processes in the food industry to our planet. It contributes to large-scale deforestation and puts certain species like orangutans at risk. It also creates a vast amount of greenhouse gases.
By avoiding palm oils in items like peanut butter, you are telling those in this industry to stop this disastrous behavior for our planet. Instead, consider grinding your own peanuts to create your own peanut butter in a temporary container or solution.
8. Growing Your Own Food
It’s hard to beat the benefits of growing your own food in your backyard. Fresh, homegrown produce simply tastes better and is entirely sustainable for our environment. You will not be participating in the carbon footprint of our species to the same extent when you are able to farm in your own backyard.
9. Swapping Out Asparagus for Broccoli
Most people are probably unaware of this swap. However, broccoli uses 34 gallons of water for every pound. However, asparagus requires 258 gallons of water per pound. While both are great for your health, choose broccoli as it is easier on our planet.
Making the Transition
At the end of the day, there are a variety of healthy, eco-friendly food swaps you can make to help our planet. You will also be boosting your own health by choosing organic food and eco-friendly food brands. Try to incorporate a sustainable food strategy for your weekly meal planning.
If you enjoyed this article about how to make eco-friendly food choices, please check out our other articles on suntrics.com!