Your Guide to a Sustainable Diet

Your Guide to a Sustainable Diet

A sustainable diet considers the social and eco-impact, the economics of nutrition and food security. Personally, you will likely feel healthier while making the planet healthier too!

Modern eating habits are shaped by technological advancements that have transformed the food industry. According to a report by ↗, Canadian supermarkets and grocery stores have seen their retail sales reach nine billion dollars in 2022. Convenience has changed the way we eat. However, the ease of modern eating habits has come at a cost. We are becoming more reliant on processed and packaged food.

While modern eating habits have brought convenience and accessibility, they may be at the cost of nutritional value, health, and environmental impact. To help tackle these issues, we’ve provided a comprehensive guide on a sustainable diet.

What is a Sustainable Diet?

A sustainable diet is a way of eating that promotes both the health of humans and the health of the planet. It involves choosing foods that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and nutritious. A sustainable diet is:

  • Plant-based: A sustainable diet is largely plant-based, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Plant-based foods tend to have a smaller environmental footprint than animal-based foods.
  • Locally sourced: Eating locally sourced foods can help reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation. Choosing foods that are in season and grown in your area can also support local farmers and food producers.
  • Low in processed foods: Processed foods often contain high levels of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. They can also have a great impact on the environment due to the resources required to produce, package, and transport them.
  • Sustainable protein sources: Choosing sustainable protein sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and plant-based alternatives can help reduce the environmental impact.

Benefits of a Sustainable Diet

  • Promotes overall health and meets nutrition needs
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Culturally acceptable
  • Affordable and accessible
  • Reduces food waste
  • Protects biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods
  • Balances caloric intake
  • Supports local and sustainable food systems
  • Minimizes the use of packaging and single-use plastics

PRO Tips for Sustainable Eating

Tip #1 Choose Plant-Based Proteins

Plant-based proteins require fewer resources (land, water, energy) to produce. Additionally, they are rich in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants and low in saturated fat.

There are many ways to add plant-based protein to your diet.

  • Try swapping lentils for ground beef in dishes like spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna, stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls.
  • Add beans or chickpeas to soups, salads, and stews for a protein boost.
  • Use firm tofu to make veggie and tofu skewers that you can grill on the barbecue for a delicious and satisfying meal.
  • Add nuts and seeds to your oatmeal or enjoy them as a snack.
  • Experiment with plant-based beverages instead of milk.
Tip #2 Reduce Food Waste
It is estimated that Canadians waste $31 billion worth of food each year. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as wasted resources such as water and energy. To reduce food waste, plan meals ahead of time, buy only what you need, and use up leftovers before they go bad. Composting is also a great way to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening.
Tip #3 Avoid Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics have a negative impact on the environment. They contribute to ocean pollution, harm wildlife, and take hundreds of years to decompose. To reduce your use of single-use plastics avoid buying products with excessive packaging, and purchase items in bulk versus individual serving sizes. Purchase reusable containers for storage and “lunch-box” use.
Tip #4 Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food is a great way to eat sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint. Even if you don't have a lot of space, you can still grow herbs and some vegetables, in containers on a balcony or patio.

Bottom Line

Making mindful changes, and incorporating more plant-based proteins, you will discover a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Plus, you will be doing your part to protect the environment. Need help adopting a sustainable and healthy eating plan? Contact ACE Nutrition, we provide personalized guidance to meets your specific needs and goals.

Did You Know?
The estimated $31 billion worth of food Canadians waste annually equates to 2.2 million tonnes of food. Also, approximately 25% of our fresh water is used to produce food that is never eaten. Fruit and vegetables are the most common type of food waste in households. Let’s plan our meals, purchase quantities of produce necessary, and ensure that we compost as much as possible.
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