It can be difficult to eat ethically in today’s world – but there are a few golden rules to stick by if you want to reduce your impact on the world this Bank Holiday. To make yourself feel good about what you’re putting on your table, just follow these easy steps:
Shop local and seasonal
One of the easiest ways to eat ethically is to buy local, seasonal produce. Veg grown in the UK will have a smaller carbon footprint than imported produce. It’ll probably taste better too – seasonal, locally grown ingredients are always going to be fresher and tastier than veg that’s been flown halfway across the world.
The same is true of meat. When you do buy meat, buy meat raised in the UK and if possible, local to you. Your butcher will be able to tell you where the meat was raised, and much of it will be sourced from farms in the surrounding areas. Meat produced in the UK is likely to adhere to higher welfare standards than a lot of other countries.
Eat less meat
If you’re already a vegetarian, great. If not, cut back on the amount of meat you eat each week. If you only eat meat two or three times a week, it’s not only healthier for you but better for the environment. And when you do buy meat, focus on the quality – if you’re not eating it everyday you’ll be saving money that you can use to treat yourself to better quality cuts.
Visit your local butcher instead of the supermarket and ask him where the meat comes from. Your butcher should be able to tell you the name of the farm the animal was raised on, and chances are it will be local to you – cutting down on your environmental impact even more.
Choose sustainable fish
The ‘Big 5’ list contains all of the most popular fish in the UK which, due to their popularity, are in danger of being overfished. This list includes haddock, cod, canned tuna, salmon and prawns. If you do buy any of these, ensure they are caught in a sustainable way – your local fishmonger is probably the best person to advise you on this.
Instead of choosing fish from the Big 5 list, pick one of the lesser known fish. Pollock is a great substitute for cod and haddock,plus it can be prepared in the same way. Try trout instead of salmon, and instead of prawns pick a more sustainable seafood like mussels.
Cut down on waste
Concentrate on how much food you throw away.Not only does it waste money, it’s not great for the environment either. Save money by only buying what you think you will need, an easy way to do this is to plan all your meals each week. Spend an hour each week thinking about what you’ll be eating. If you know you will have leftovers, learn ways to preserve them. You can make a tasty stock from leftover bones and vegetables, which can then be frozen and used later.
Look for the Fairtrade certification
Whenever you can, look for Fairtrade products. This certification ensures the people who grow the food we eat are getting a fair deal. Look for the Fairtrade logo while shopping – it’s so easy to switch to Fairtrade products and it really does make a difference to people’s lives.