Resolve to make your 2024 diet more environmentally friendly

New year, new you – but the same, if not worsening, climate crisis we’ve been experiencing. As you think ahead to resolutions and fresh starts in 2024, you can improve your own well-being and that of the environment. 

One way to achieve this is by adopting or leaning into a plant-based diet. This not only has substantial health benefits, but does astronomical wonders at reducing your carbon footprint. Two birds, one stone! Or rather, two tofurkys, one stone! (Sorry.)

The food we eat, how it’s produced, and how we consume it all have differing impacts on the environment, with some particularly bad for the climate. Below are new year’s resolutions, both big and small, you could consider to make those impacts less harmful.

Eat less beef

Plant-based diets are environmentally friendly and great for your overall health. But you might not want to fully cut animal protein from your diet. If that’s the case, you can still make a positive impact by reducing the amount of animal protein you eat and opting for poultry and seafood options over red meat.

Beef is the worst agricultural culprit for the climate crisis with production of this meat emitting eight times as much carbon per kilogram as fish, 10 times as much as poultry and 32 times as much as tofu. Beef production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than air travel in the United States – so reducing demand for beef could help to reduce emissions.

Next time you’re cooking a bolognese, consider swapping in ground turkey, or if you’re craving a burger, try a plant-based alternative. The less beef in your diet, the better. 

Hold the dairy

Reducing dairy consumption also shrinks your carbon footprint. Plant-based milks, like almond, soy and oat are great alternatives to cow milk and use about a third of the amount of water. Of those three, almond milk has the smallest carbon footprint, so consider splashing some of that in your morning coffee or cereal rather than traditional milk. 

Prep your food

Planning your meals ahead of time not only makes it easier to stick to a plant-based or plant-centric diet, it also reduces food waste. Roughly 38 percent of all food, about 80 million tons, goes uneaten and discarded. The time, money and energy that was put into producing that food is therefore also wasted. 

Buying the correct amount of food and prepping your meals saves you money and stops harmful overproduction of food that will never be eaten. 

Educate yourself

There’s no shortage of information available on environmentally friendly diets and recipes or research into the negative environmental impact of agricultural farming.

Make more climate-conscious purchases by getting in the habit of checking your food for third party labels and certifications. For example, the Marine Stewardship Council label indicates your seafood is sourced from environmentally stable fisheries.

The more knowledgeable you are about how your food choices affect the world around you, the better equipped you are to make better choices. By reading this article, you’ve already started this good habit – a great way to begin the new year!

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