Chances are you’ve become more and more aware of the worsening conditions of our planet, and while the constant updates about climate change can be slightly depressing, the good news is you can actually play a huge role in creating a positive change just by changing how you eat! Read these five following tips that make sustainable eating way easier, which means you’ll be happier and healthier and so will the Earth.  

1. Eat Less Meat and Dairy

milk, dairy product, dairy, cream
kaelen gallagher

If this first one was hard to hear, don’t worry—this is not to say you can’t still treat yourself to some bacon mac and cheese once in awhile. Just slightly cutting down your meat and dairy consumption can actually has a huge impact.

Recent research has suggested that “avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.” This is because the production of animal products emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases. Try incorporating more plant-based proteins, like beans, nuts, tofu or quinoa into your meal the next time you’re deciding what to put on your plate. All of these have tons of health fiber, and vitamins. In addition to their sustainable eating benefits, they have also been shown to reduce your risk for cancer. 

2. Eat Seasonally and Locally

honey, syrup, local farm, local bees, Bees, farmer's market, shop local, shopping
Sam Jesner

Whenever possible, choose seasonal and/or local produce because it cuts down on transportation pollution and irresponsible farming practices. Seasonal and local food are also much better for you because this type of food often has a higher nutrient content. It is also less likely to have been grown with chemicals and pesticides, which is important in the sustainable eating community.

3. Cook at Home

spaghetti, pasta, macaroni
Alex Frank

This one may seem simple, but cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients and portion size, meaning it's more likely to be much healthier than a restaurant meal. Not to mention you can choose ingredients that are organic, seasonal, and local if you have access to them. Since restaurants portions are usually so large, this also means you are cutting back on food waste. If you need inspiration, check out Spoon University for tons of amazing recipes!

4. Eat the rainbow!

salad, vegetable
Danielle Cahoon

No, sadly, this doesn’t mean eating Skittles. Eating a varied diet of colorful produce is not only going to provide you with all the nutrients your body needs, but also ensure you're eating sustainable plant-based foods. For a complete guide to eating the rainbow and fun inspiration, check out this spoon article.

5. Read Food Labels 

beer, wine
Jessica Peyton

Becoming more critical when you choose your food is so beneficial—it allows you to know exactly what you’re eating but also lets you think about where your food is coming from.

This is especially important when you’re choosing meat and dairy because the labels tell you whether or not the animals were grass-fed. They also let you know if the farming is USDA organic and certified humane, which is super important because these types of products tend to be better for the earth and your health. Check out this article for a super helpful shopping guide. 

Keeping these five things in mind the next time you are choosing your food can have a huge impact! Happy earth, happy you.