Nutritional sustainability is defined as “the ability of a food system to provide sufficient energy and the amounts of essential nutrients required to maintain the good health of the population without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their nutritional needs” by the Advances in Nutrition Review-Journal. This is an important topic to discuss, seeing that it not only affects meeting people’s nutrition needs today, but also for many generations to come. While many actions are being taken to ensure this is being done on a large scale, you can also make small steps at home to live more sustainably.
The best way to achieve this is by finding the closest farmers market to you. Shopping at your local farmers’ market ensures you are getting the freshest produce possible and is in season. You may even find something new that couldn’t be commonly found in a traditional grocery store. Another incredible perk of shopping and eating local is that you are stimulating local businesses. Your money is going directly to the grower instead of a large chain. You also get to meet and support people’s livelihood. Adding this as part of your weekly routine instills a dedicated time to walk in the fresh air and get to know the people who craft your food from seed to final product. Many times each market has its unique feel based on the city and the people selling. Try going; you may be pleasantly surprised, and there may be live music involved, and who doesn’t love shopping with a great soundtrack. We love the Nashville Farmers’ Market.
Begin composting all of your scraps.
Composting may take some time to adjust to, but it is worth the learning curve. Depending on where you live and what you have access to determines the best way for you to compost. The best way to begin is by finding a container that will hold your scraps until they are ready to be transported. Be sure that whatever container you choose has a lid to keep smells from swarming your home. The size of your scrap container varies based on the number of people in your home, don’t be afraid to start small, an old yogurt container can do the trick. Once you get in a groove and are ready to invest in a new box, be sure that it has consistent airflow, a lid, and is easy to clean; consider compostable bin liners to avoid cleaning messes as frequently. Once you have started collecting scraps, you get to decide if you want to compost in your backyard or take it to a local garden or farmer’ market to be composted. Whatever avenue you choose is a significant step towards reducing food waste and living more sustainably.
Use the full item, as much as possible.
Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps that cannot be used, but before you do, try and see if there is another way to utilize your scraps. You can get extremely creative. Use the stems of vegetables to create your vegetable broths. Grab those extra coffee grounds and build a body scrub. Utilize your extra greens, such as carrot tops, to make pesto from scratch. Toast extra bread, turn it into crumbs, and use it to elevate a mac n’ cheese. A registered dietitian can assist you in coming up with recipes and a plan to use up those ingredients!
Reduce your use of single-use plastic items.
Replacing single-use items, such as grocery bags, plastic water bottles, plastic Tupperwares, plastic utensils, napkins, towels, etc., can take a while. Start with some small things such as reusable bags for snacks. Every small step towards less plastic is a step in the right direction. Don’t let the idea of replacing every plastic item become overwhelming but rather go one by one. Next time you run out of paper towels, try buying something reusable. There will be a trial and error period before you find the perfect product for you, but that is part of finding any ideal product. It is also essential to find products that work for your family and your lifestyle. A family with a newborn baby will have different needs than a college student or a retired couple.
A vital place to start is learning what you can and can’t recycle. Look up information from your local recycling centers as can provide you with a detailed outline. Request from your local recycle center or invest in a separate recycle bin from your standard trash can and separate accordingly. There are some great graphics online that you can also hang up as a great reminder. Once you learn how to separate, this is a simple task that makes a huge difference.
Learn about companies and groups in your area that are working to be more sustainable. Read articles, listen to podcasts, and watch documentaries. Learn about the long lasting impact you and your family are having on our world. Take the time to learn why these small tasks are essential. Becoming educated is empowering in knowing that you have the knowledge to carry with you and implement not only in your household but to also share with family and loved ones.
Being sustainable can seem overwhelming, but numerous small changes lead to a considerable difference in the long run. No two families, kitchens, or households are the same, so what works for you may not for someone else. Try something new, educate yourself and those around you; our planet and the generations to come will be thankful you did.
Nourished Routes, a nutrition consulting company, aims to enrich your lifestyle with interactive experiences and education. When it comes to providing nutrition therapy, their Registered Dietitians believe in a whole foods approach, 100% transparency with clients, and applying evidence-based information. Some of the nutrition services of Nourished Routes include nutrition counseling, meal plans, workshops, and much more!
Check out the Nourish Routes website at www.nourishedroutes.com for more information and to schedule your free consultation today!