How to Eat More Sustainably this Christmas
With so many of us seeking to make dietary choices that minimise our impact on the planet, it’s important to think about eating more sustainably around Christmas time. We know that to reduce the impacts of our diet on our health and the environment, we need to reduce our consumption of meat and increase our consumption of plant-based proteins, fruit and vegetables as well as reduce food waste.
But on festive occasions, it can seem like more of a challenge given that our traditions of celebration often involve an abundance of food and serving large portions of meat, such as turkey and ham, as a centre piece.
So, I thought I would provide you with some useful tips for How to Eat More Sustainably this Christmas.
How to Eat More Sustainably this Christmas
It’s all about Balance
The turkey or ham that is a predominant part of our Christmas dinner is likely to also have the highest environmental impact. The key to a more sustainable Christmas table is to choose a smaller bird, serve a smaller portion of meat and increase the variety of delicious dishes that we serve alongside it.
Be creative. Try to increase the variety of plant-based dishes that are served at your Christmas dinner this year. Focus on diversifying your range of vegetable side dishes, or why not add in an extra vegetarian/vegan main dish such as a delicious nut roast or a vegetarian wellington!
It’s never been more important to embrace shopping locally. Try to buy meat from your local butcher. Choose organic or free-range meat that has a credible certification, such as the Bord Bia Quality Mark, so you know it’s the better choice for the environment and is more than likely the tastiest and most nutritious choice!
Try to shop for vegetables at local food markets where possible or source vegetables that are grown by local producers. All of our produce is bought from trusted suppliers around Ireland so we know we are getting the best possible product to use in our meals.
Eat with the Seasons
Be mindful when shopping for fruit and veg at Christmas and try to choose in-season vegetables as much as possible. Luckily, many of the vegetables that are traditionally a part of our Christmas feast – spuds, brussel sprouts, carrots and parsnips – are in season throughout the winter including mushrooms, turnips and leeks!
Cut Down on Food Waste
Food waste is a big problem, especially around Christmas time. On average 23% of the food we produce is wasted, with serious consequences for our environment. Plan what you actually need before you do your Christmas food shop, make a list and make sure you buy no more fresh food than you need. If you want to buy extras, choose tinned or frozen options that will last and stay fresh for longer.
When you are doing your food shopping, try to choose items that are light on plastic packaging and buy loose fruit and vegetables. Make sure to bring a reusable bag with you!
Read our blog on “How to Use Your Leftovers” to get some great ideas on creating new meals, saving money and cutting down on waste.
Cook with Care
We use a huge amount of cling film, tin foil and baking parchment at Christmas. Try and replace these with more sustainable cooking options such as reusable wax wraps or recycled aluminium foil. Be mindful when storing food- store in stainless steel boxes or glass jars instead of using large amounts of cling film and tin foil. Food stored properly will stay fresh for longer too!
These are all small, simple changes that we can make this Christmas to ensure we are following healthy, sustainable behaviours that are kind to our planet while still enjoying the festivities!
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Niamh is our Senior Nutritionist here at Gourmet Fuel. Niamh completed her BSc (Hons) in Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork and has recently completed a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition from University College Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked in the food and drinks industry both in Ireland and in San Francisco and gained valuable insight into the major role the industry can play in improving healthy eating and allowing us to make healthier food choices. Her areas of interest include health promotion, food sustainability, communication and nutrition research.
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