6 Healthy Tips for Sustainable Eating

Article posted in: Lifestyle Diet & Nutrition
woman buying carrots at a farmers market

Transform your diet with an earth-friendly approach to eating! You can easily improve your health AND the planet with simple habits that fit into your weight loss plan. From eating more veggies to starting a home garden, we’ve got six sustainable strategies to help you help the environment.

In short, to eat sustainably means choosing foods that are healthy for your body but that are produced in a way that also protects the earth. It’s a concept that was developed to both reduce the risk of killer and chronic diseases and to help preserve our natural resources so the earth can continue to feed generations to come.1

How does what we put on our plates hurt the environment? For example, the raising of livestock for meat, eggs and dairy products uses far more natural resources—a third of the world’s fresh water supply in fact—than the farming of plant foods.2 Shipping foods across the country can be a significant source of pollution. Food waste is also a big issue: About 30-40% of the food that comes to market in the United States winds up as garbage, says the US Food and Drug Administration.3

Fortunately, what makes us healthy also keeps the planet healthy. Eating more plant-based foods and less red meat and sugar will preserve natural resources while cutting down on risks for cardiovascular disease, Type 1 diabetes, some cancers and premature death, according to the EAT-Lancet commission4, a group of 37 of the world’s leading scientists whose mission was to define targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production.

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Here’s how you can jump on the sustainable eating bandwagon:

1. Bring on the veggies and grains.

a plate of vegetables, carrots, edamame, and broccoli

Getting that steak to your table costs a lot of money, burns a lot of fuel and, as you’ve seen, uses up far too much fresh drinking water. While lean meat and poultry are healthy sources of protein, incorporating more vegetarian and plant-based foods into your diet can be beneficial to the environment.

Nutrisystem offers plenty of delicious vegetarian meals that are easy to prepare and perfect for your meatless Monday menu! You’ll love our plant-based Sweet Ginger Veggie and Grain Blend. Click here to stock up! >

2. Eat what’s in season.

a grocery bag overflowing with vegetables

Sure, you can get strawberries in February but chances are they’ve been flown or trucked in from far away, using up plenty of fuel and creating plenty of pollution. You can support sustainability by choosing produce that’s grown locally whenever possible. Not only does local produce tend to taste better but since it gets from the field or orchard to your kitchen much quicker, it doesn’t lose as much of its nutritional value as food from far-flung places.5 Those strawberries will be tastier and so much better for you in June and July than they are mid-winter.

On Nutrisystem, we recommend eating at least four servings of non-starchy veggie each day. Try to choose seasonal options for your veggie add-ins. How do you know what’s in season? Check out this helpful article here! > You can learn what produce is in season in your region with the handy Seasonal Food Guide app.6

3. Farmers Markets: Shop locally.

a woman and child shopping at a local farmers market

Buying at your local farmers’ market means you’re eating what’s in season and cutting down on transit time, but it’s also a way to support your community’s economy. Bonus: You get a close-up view of where your food comes from.

An increasingly popular way to buy food seasonally from a local farmer is purchasing what’s called a “CSA share.” CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. To purchase a “share,” you typically pay a membership fee up front (helping with cash flow at the farm). That will often get you a weekly box of food, which may include produce or other foodstuff raised on the farm, like honey and even eggs, bread and meat. Some shares include flowers.7

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4. Grow your own.

a home-grown tomato plant on the patio

You don’t need acres of land to grow your own veggies, herbs and fruits. You don’t even need a yard. You can grow veggies and herbs (and even fruit trees, which come in handy columnar varieties) in containers on your back porch, front stoop or sunny window. In fact, almost any vegetable you can grow in a garden can also grow in a container.8

For free assistance on starting your own garden, contact your county’s cooperative extension service, which is affiliated with a university in your state. We’ve also got plenty of tips here on The Leaf. Check out our Gardening With Scott series! >

5. Invest in a water filtering pitcher.

a man using a water filtering pitcher to pour water.

Instead of buying bottled water in plastic containers, invest in a reusable water filtering pitcher and pour fresh, clean water into your own reusable water bottles. You’ll save lots of money along with the environment.

Nutrisystem makes a 32-once reusable water bottle that’s perfectly portable, dishwasher-safe and American-made. Purchase it here! >

6. Try a sustainable meal delivery service.

a smiling woman pointing to a meal delivery package

The same portion control that can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight can help you reduce food waste. With home delivery, you also eliminate weekly shopping trips. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that weekly trips to the grocery store generates 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the environment.9 This contributes to the increasing rise in global temperature that leads to more intense and damaging weather patterns, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).10

Nutrisystem is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products, so you can feel good about choosing us for your weight loss journey. Reduce your food waste and decrease your carbon footprint with our sustainable meal delivery service! Our home delivery helps you cut down on weekly trips to the grocery story, while our portion controlled foods help you decrease food waste.

We also make smart and sustainable decisions when it comes to our packaging. Our new coolers for our frozen meals are made with thermally robust and eco-friendly materials. They are 92% biodegradable*, so you can throw them away with regular trash and let nature safely break them down. However, they are also reusable and recyclable.

Nutrisystem food cartons are made from recyclable board stock and our food trays are also recyclable. You also won’t find excess print materials with your Nutrisystem plan. We’ve increased our program support through our website, the NuMi app and our blog The Leaf.

You know what that means: You can enjoy delicious meals and snacks with no guilt—about anything! There’s only one earth and it’s up to us to take care of it. We’re all in this together!

Learn more about our sustainable practices at Nutrisystem here! >

*Foam breaks down up to 92% in four years

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Sources:

  1. https://www.pnas.org/content/116/46/23357
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/06/17/5-tips-for-sustainable-eating/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/food-loss-and-waste
  4. https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/01/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf
  5. https://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2013/06/03/seasonalproduce/
  6. https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org
  7. https://www.localharvest.org/csa/
  8. https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/solutions/container-gardening/
  9. https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/what-if-more-people-bought-groceries-online-instead-driving-store
  10. https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/