Accueil | How to eat healthy and responsibly
26 February 2021

How to eat healthy and responsibly

Choosing to consume more responsibly to reduce your impact on the environment impacts several spheres of our lives, including food. How can you make informed, environmentally friendly choices from the vast range of products available? Follow our guide and find out how simple it is to transform your plate to keep both yourself and the planet healthier!

Of course, as consumers, we first favour foods that have a positive impact on our health. Current environmental issues (air pollution, climate change, water pollution) lead us to consider helping the planet and ecosystems in our food choices. Every item that we add to our grocery cart leaves an ecological footprint to various degrees. When we talk about “responsible” eating, it means protecting the environment while helping foster the economic development of our area and looking after our health.

1. Adapt your diet

  • Favour seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Tip: keep a harvest calendar handy, either on your phone or on the fridge, so you know what the featured products will be at any time! Also consider irregular products (browner, discoloured or misshapen foods) for your soups or smoothies.

  • Eat more pulses and whole grains.

This will allow you to replace part of your animal protein and therefore reduce your meat consumption, since meat production is a major source of greenhouse gases.

  • Opt for organically farmed products when possible.

Not only for our health, but also to encourage farmers in their efforts to diversify their crops and to provide better living conditions for their livestock.

2. Plan more to waste less.

Did you know that in Canada, 2.2 million tons of food are wasted by households every year, a loss equivalent to more than $17 billion? In fact, 63% of food waste that is thrown in the garbage or compost could have been consumed. This means that the average household wastes 140 kg of food each year, or an annual loss of around $1,100.

To limit waste:

  • Before going grocery shopping, have a look at what’s in your fridge and pantry and make a list of only what you need. Stop impulse buying items that may go bad because they never get eaten!
  • Is it always necessary to cook extra food to have leftovers for lunch? Maybe not.
  • Short on inspiration? Think about cooking with your leftovers. Use the Vide-Frigo tool at Glouton.ca (French only)

3. Buy close to home

Greenhouse gases are generated throughout the food production chain. Transportation, storage, distribution, food preparation: each step contributes to air and water pollution and consumes a non-negligible quantity of energy.

By doing your shopping at a market or local store close to where you live, and buying from a local producer, you favour food that has not needed to be transported over long distances and generate more pollution. What’s more, you’re encouraging local farmers and favouring the economic development of your region. This often allows you to buy in bulk and avoid overpackaging.

4. Opt for environmentally friendly labels

Yes, where the products that we consume come from is important, but so is quality. Environmental labelling is a good tool to inform you about the environmental characteristics of the products that you buy. Many labels exist on the market, and it can be difficult to figure out what’s what. To help you, consult the directory of environmental labels for food on the ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (Quebec Environment and Fight Against Climate Change) website. (French only).

Saving the environment also means thinking about what goes onto your plate!

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