Globally, we want to build a food system which is both resilient to disasters and sustainable for generations to come. That is, a food system that will withstand climate change and unexpected events, while maintaining a more equitable relationship with the environment. What we eat matters, not only on an individual level, but also on a global scale. As nutrition professionals, you can include sustainability in counseling for healthy diets. Whether you work in athletics, clinical settings, foodservice, or community nutrition, you can use your position to promote sustainable eating practices.
Sustainable eating practices often resemble nutrition recommendations for health. Eating within caloric needs and eating less meat may improve overall nutrition and environmental health. Minimizing food waste also lessens the environmental burden of our current system.
Eat less meat. Meat production is one of the most resource intensive processes in the world today. Consumer demand influences supply and production. And, reduced red meat consumption may also have positive benefits on saturated fat intake. (Learn more at www.MeatlessMonday.org)
Reduce food waste. In high-income countries like the United States, the majority of food waste occurs at the consumer end. Encourage waste reduction through meal planning, smart cooking and grocery shopping. This can help reduce some of the 1292 calories per person, per day that goes into landfills.
Advocacy: Become a sustainable food advocate! Speak with students, interns, and other professionals about ways to incorporate sustainability into conversations about health.
In summary, reducing meat consumption and food waste are practical ways to impact the environment. Food and nutrition professionals play a key role in the movement towards sustainable food security.