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Posted in: Food and Nutrition, Healthy Living, Sustainability

What You Need to Know About Sustainable Nutrition

Sustainable nutrition is going to change things. Read this in-depth guide to sourcing sustainable foods, why it is important, and all its benefits.

sustainable nutrition

With the increased popularity of locally grown, organic and sustainable food, more people are asking themselves what is sustainable nutrition? or what are sustainable meals? Knowing how your food choices affect the environment is essential because what you eat directly affects the planet. This guide will help you understand what indeed constitutes sustainable nutrition and how to incorporate sustainable meals into your diet through what you buy and what you eat.

This post is all about the sustainable nutrition.

Everything You Need to Know About Sustainable Nutrition

beginner's guide to sustainable nutrition

What is Sustainable Nutrition?

Many people are concerned about the environmental impacts of food production and are increasingly considering how their eating habits affect the environment.

If you’re one of these people, sustainable nutrition might be something that piques your interest—but what exactly does it mean?

Sustainable nutrition is one of the most important things you can focus on to improve your health and wellness—and contribute to a better environment in the process.

Sustainable nutrition means eating nutritious foods – meals and snacks that are safe, healthy, natural, and responsibly produced. Responsible eating means avoiding foods made from chemicals or harvested in ways that endanger the health of animals or humans.

When we talk about sustainable foods we are not talking about just healthy eating or a sustainable diet that you can stick to. Rather, we are talking about nourishing our bodies with healthy diets and without harming the planet.

Food today has become less nutritious due to its mass production, often high sodium levels, sugar content, and processing methods. Processed foods are detrimental to both human health and the planet.

sustainable nutrition importance

Why is Sustainable Nutrition So Important?

Sustainable food, in general, encompasses any food produced by environmentally friendly techniques.

And sustainable nutrition focuses on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and other whole foods that will give your body what it needs to stay healthy without burdening our planet.

Unfortunately, the increased demand for food has resulted in substantial industrial farms all over the country, with more than 90 percent of animals raised for meat confined in cramped quarters and routinely fed antibiotics to keep them from getting sick due to unsanitary conditions.

Conventionally raised red meat is a known contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Industrial farming practices have also made it easier for pests to survive year-round as they develop immunity to pesticides; as a result, farmers resort to using ever-increasing amounts of pesticides.

Consuming food from sustainable farms makes good nutritional sense. Sustainable food, by definition, has to be environmentally sound—free of chemicals and artificial additives, grown in fertile soil (without tilling), etc.

And eating it means you aren’t harming our environment. But sustainability doesn’t just apply to how our food gets to our plates; it also covers what we eat once it’s there.

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What Happens if Things Don’t Change

Today, many people eat organic or locally grown foods to avoid GMOs and get more nutritious food. But soon, people will have a new reason to buy sustainable foods: saving our planet. Suppose we continue with our unsustainable production methods.

In that case, we may face water shortages, declining soil quality, and even a lack of enough land for future food production. This is a catastrophic reality facing the growing population.

So what happens if we don’t choose sustainable foods?

Let’s take a look at some of these issues surrounding food production so that you can make an informed decision about what you eat and how it affects our world.

Conventional agriculture runs most of the world’s food system. We need to demand sustainably-grown produce and meats in order to nudge more farmers to use more sustainable methods.

The sooner we address the problems in our food systems, the better.

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Problems with Our Current Food Systems

With more and more people to feed, our current systems are becoming unsustainable. The truth is that conventional agriculture contributes largely to climate change, and the agriculture industry is dependent upon climate.

Food production is already experiencing pressure from climate change.

  1. Seasons are becoming more unpredictable, putting pressure on many vegetable and fruit crops.
  2. Water resources have “dried-up” in parts of the world, and the chances of drought in more places are inevitable.
  3. Extreme weather is becoming the new “normal” with detrimental effects on crops and livestock.

Climate change affects the loss of biodiversity, which is necessary for the health of the planet. Such environmental pressures pose significant challenges food production.

A recent review of several climate studies shows a general consensus that future cereal crops will be severely impacted, while vegetables and legumes are even more sensitive than cereal crops.

There will be fewer foods available and those foods will be even less nutritious due to soil depletion and lack of essential nutrients.

This is a disaster in the making. It is not going to be an easy or quick change for sustainable practices to become normalized in conventional agriculture.

However, every little step we take towards sustainability makes a difference. 

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The Must-Read Sustainable Shopping Guide
Sustainable shopping practices are becoming more common, making it easier to find eco-friendly businesses. Here are some tips on how to do it!
Free downloads
Sustainable Foods: The Seasonal Guide to Eco-friendly Shopping


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How to Source Sustainable Foods

There are several ways to source sustainable foods. One way is to shop at farmers’ markets, where you can talk directly with a farmer and find out exactly how they grow produce. When you buy from farm stands and markets, you are supporting your local community and eating in season.

Another way to find food that’s sustainable—and probably fresher, too—is to shop at a local grocery store or chain that focuses on buying from local suppliers. Consume mostly locally sourced foods that have been grown organically.

If you struggle to find good organic food staples at the grocery store, order these items in bulk from a co-op or store like Sun Organic Farm. Also, you will find that a lot of good companies list their foods on Amazon.

And when it comes to meat and fish, seek out local farms and fisherman first. Look for pasture-raised and finished meats, poultry, and eggs. If you must buy commercially produced and packaged meats, be sure to check whether companies tell you how they raise animals on your dinner plate.

It’s increasingly common for them to provide transparency about animal welfare practices on their websites or packaging; if there isn’t much information about it in stores, ask the manufacturer directly for specifics. Many of them will be happy to share!

Supply and Demand Tactics for Getting More Sustainable Foods

  • Get to know a farmer!
  • Ask where and how the food was produced
  • Local & organic foods are always more sustainable- Eat in season!
  • Start a food co-op
  • Join a community garden
  • Learn permaculture principles
  • Grow some of your own food staples!
  • Get backyard chickens for eggs to sell
  • Stop buying conventional foods as often as possible!

Read about why Eating in Season is so Important!

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Unsustainable Foods and Products to Avoid

Some foods are more sustainable than others, but when it comes to eating sustainably, there are some foods that don’t fall into either of these categories.

The list below contains common ingredients and menu items you should avoid ensuring you’re eating sustainably, as well as their corresponding health impacts on both your body and the environment.

Ways You Can Make a Difference with Sustainable Nutrition

Ways You Can Make a Difference with Sustainable Nutrition

What does it take to practice sustainable nutrition? Now that we understand what sustainable nutrition entails, here are ways you can put it into practice in your everyday life.

Whether you want to decrease your carbon footprint or simply want to eat more nutritiously, there are small steps you can take every day that will make a big difference in your health and the planet for years to come.

  1. Shop smarter to consume mostly locally sourced foods that have been grown organically.
  2. Eat less meat.
  3. Make fewer food orders by ordering in bulk.
  4. Eat in season.
  5. Support local organic farms, co-ops, and eco-conscious businesses.
  6. Don’t spend your money with unsustainable food companies.
  7. Join or subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA)
  8. Start a home garden or community garden!

Sustainable nutrition means eating meals and snacks that are safe, healthy, natural, and responsibly produced for the health of the public, the climate, and the planet.

Conventional agriculture contributes largely to climate change. So, choosing foods that have been grown sustainably means you are reducing your environmental impact.

If you want to make a difference, choose local organic foods as often as possible. Our organic and sustainable farmers work hard to support the health of the community, and their livelihood depends on us. Good health depends on them.

This post was all about sustainable nutrition.


Learn About Sustainability

Knowing your food and taking responsibility for how it is produced is the best way to make a positive ecological impact.

You are reducing waste and resources while relying less on conventional agriculture and its use of pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate.

Most importantly, you will be eating the healthiest way possible!

Find out how to be more self-sufficient by gardening for sustainability.

Are you on a journey to be more self-sufficient?

Have you checked these essential gardening components off the list, yet? I would love to hear how it is going! Let me know about how gardening for self-sufficiency is working for you and your tribe by commenting below.

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