The food we choose to eat has a mega impact on our carbon footprint. Meat, especially beef and lamb, has a higher carbon footprint because of the land, water, and energy used to feed and rear animals and the emissions produced by animals themselves, yes that’s cows belching! According to the NHS, there are also health benefits to reducing intake of red meat as it can reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
The good news is that we regularly get a chance to make a difference with our forks. Even a small reduction in the meat and dairy we eat and drink, can make a big difference and improve our diet. So we can still enjoy meals that are affordable, sustainable and delicious.
Storing food correctly and freezing leftovers can save you money by making your ingredients last longer and taste better so that you waste less. Why not freeze your culinary creation as a backup meal for a rainy day or to eat at lunch.
Are you confused by the difference between 'best before' and 'use by' dates? Food past its 'best before' or 'display until' date is still perfectly good to eat if it looks and smells normal. However, food past its “use by” date shouldn’t be eaten. For more food hacks go to Love Food Hate Waste.
The Power of Seasonal Plants
Many food choices that are better for the environment can be better for your budget too, such as using local and seasonal ingredients. Even if you don’t buy local all the time, choosing to buy foods that are seasonal to the place they’re grown can be cheaper and can make a positive environmental difference.
The Power of Breastfeeding
Infant feeding has long been recognised as having lasting health benefits for both mums and babies but its environmental benefits are less well known. Breastfeeding saves significant amounts of water, energy, and waste compared to formula milk. Research suggests that supporting mums in the UK to breastfeed could save as much carbon as taking 50,000 cars off the road.
If you are thinking about breastfeeding or currently breastfeeding there is an online support group via Facebook: Cwm Taf Breastfeeding Network. You can also speak to your midwife or health visitor who can offer breastfeeding support.
Think About What You Eat
We can all help shape the way that food is made and sold for the better by voting with our wallets to raise standards, cut carbon, and support local producers.
When shopping, look out for foods that are marked ‘Rainforest Alliance certified’ or which carry the ‘Fairtrade’ or ‘MSC’ mark on their packaging. These certifications show that products have been independently assessed to meet certain ethical and sustainable production standards.
Donate Your Surplus
You can donate quality, in-date food that you no longer want to a food bank. This prevents edible food from going to waste by redistributing it to help other people in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Donate directly to your foodbank, a supermarket collection points or by hosting a collection at your school, church or work. To find your nearest food bank please visit The Trussell Trust - Stop UK Hunger.
Eat Less & Better Meat
As a population, our collective health and the health of the planet would improve if we ate a balanced diet consistent with the NHS-recommended Eatwell guidelines.
Diets that are good for us tend to be better for the planet too. For many people, this means eating more plants and less or better meat. For more information on a healthier diet for yourself and the planet take a look at Food for the Planet.