This topic was developed in partnership with Rooted Community Health within the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.
What does it mean to eat for the environment?
Eating for the environment, or eating sustainably, is about choosing foods that are healthy for your body and the world around you. Sustainable eating patterns help conserve natural resources while also supporting local farms.
Start by eating a more plant-based diet. This includes eating more legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and fewer animal-based foods, such as red meat and cheese.
Can you still eat meat and be environmentally friendly?
The short answer is yes. Eating meat is an important aspect of many cultures, religions, and personal preferences. The first step is to focus on where you buy your meat. Look into joining a local meat CSA (community supported agriculture) or purchase meat from the local farmer’s market. These meat purchases can be more expensive, so consider decreasing the amount of meat you eat overall. Instead of making meat the focus of a meal, make it a small part. Fill most of your plate with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also incorporate “meatless Mondays” each week.
Every small action makes a difference, so be thoughtful about your food choices and do what feels sustainable for you and your family.
Check out this helpful handout for more information and tips on sustainable eating.
Try to implement one sustainability tip from the handout this week.
- Sustainability and Planetary Health - Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Sustainability and Planetary Health. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- Sustainable Eating. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- US EPA O. Learn About Sustainability. Published November 5, 2014. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- Spiker M, Reinhardt S, Bruening M. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Revised 2020 Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (Competent, Proficient, and Expert) in Sustainable, Resilient, and Healthy Food and Water Systems. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.