Eat well sustainably

The food system has a significant impact on climate change mainly due to habitat loss, water resources and greenhouse gases. It is estimated that food contributes to around one-fifth of our footprint to climate change.

A non-vegetarian diet requires 2.5 times more energy and almost 3 times more water than a vegetarian diet - for example, 13kg of grain are required to produce 1kg of beef. Whilst meat and dairy foods contribute a valuable source of minerals such as calcium and iron, a varied plant-based diet from foods such as pulses (beans and lentils), nuts, seeds, soya and whole grains can also provide key nutrients. This can also reduce the intake of saturated fat, of which an estimated 46% comes from meat and dairy foods in our diet.

A Mediterranean diet is a good example of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrain and fish which also has a relatively low intake of processed foods and saturated fat. This diet also has many positive health benefits. In addition, buying locally-sourced foods and those that are sustainable, such as sustainably caught fish, can really help. Although meat and dairy foods do not necessarily have to be omitted, reducing consumption can help pay a fair price to reducing the impact on the environment.

For more information on eating a sustainably healthy balanced diet, contact a Registered Dietitian for further advice.

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