Six more sustainable (and healthier!) eating habits to adopt this summer

Discover six simple yet powerful eating habits to make your summer meals not only healthier but also more sustainable. Nourish your body and protect the planet with our top tips.

June 7, 2023

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Summer is here, bringing with it an abundance of sunshine, warmth, and an opportunity to nourish our bodies with a fresh start. It's the perfect time to embark on a journey towards more sustainable and healthier eating habits. 

By adopting conscious culinary choices, you can relish in the joy of guilt-free consumption while nourishing your body and the planet simultaneously!

From boosting your energy levels to supporting your immune system, your kitchen can offer a truly holistic approach to wellness. 

So, let's dive in and discover how you can make this summer a season full of healthier and more sustainable delights.

Eat seasonally and locally

Women shopping for vegetables at a farmers market
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

Earth is a giving planet and provides everything needed for all species to survive and thrive. Foods that are in season are "designed by nature" to provide the necessary provisions for all animals, including humans, throughout the ever-changing year. 

Thus, shopping local and buying seasonal produce will not only help the planet to maintain its delicate balance, but can boost your immune system too, by providing you with the foods nature intended.

And eating locally sourced produce, meat, and fish ensures that the food on your plate hasn't travelled across the globe to reach you. Naturally, this will equate to a significantly lower carbon footprint, and fresher food.

Foods that are grown out of season require pesticides, special fertilisers, and a lot of energy to cultivate. The chemicals used contaminate our food chain, seep into our water supplies, and release harmful gases into our air.

On the other hand, seasonal, indigenous foods, grown organically,  naturally provide us with the nutrients our immune systems need to fight infection and to get through each particular time of year without any unnatural intervention.

So, it’s as easy as being mindful of how you shop by paying attention to what’s in season, what’s grown in your local area by organic farmers, and then, enjoying the fresh, nutrient rich foods available at any specific time of year.

Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs

Vegetables and herbs growing in pots on a balcony

Of course it’s not always an option, but growing and nurturing your own produce is not only a mindful pastime, it is beneficial to the environment too. 

And it might surprise you to learn that while you may not have the space needed for a full-out vegetable garden, your kitchen or balcony may provide just the right environment for growing herbs and even small plants like bell peppers and tomatoes.

There are many benefits to home-growing. You can reduce the carbon footprint that results from transporting imported foods. Your own produce doesn't need any plastic packaging that supermarkets often use. Plus, you can tailor your growing process to your eating habits. 

Think of it as curating your own produce store, full of all of your favourites. As usual, start small and once your confidence grows you can experiment with new plants. And there are loads of self-help gardening books and gardening blogs to guide you along the way!

As a bonus, growing your own food  can help you to develop a better understanding of the hard work that goes into food production which can also be a rewarding experience.

Opt for plant-based proteins

Bowl of chickpeas with rice, salad, and bread

Following a totally meat-free diet isn't always healthy or possible for everyone for various reasons. But for some of us, eating more plant-based dishes throughout the week can be a simple (and fun!)  way to help us reduce our carbon footprint. 

Commit to making some small, maintainable, and sustainable changes to your eating habits. For example, a few meals a week you could substitute legumes like lentils and chickpeas for meat, giving you some necessary protein and minimising the need for red meat. 

When you start getting creative with your veggie meals options,  you’ll find there is a wonderful world of plant-based delights waiting to be discovered. Check out some of the many wonderful vegan blogs for inspiration.

Stick to unprocessed foods

Toast with avocado and boiled eggs

Did you know, not all grains are equal?!! What may sound healthy, like maize, rice, and wheat, are not necessarily so. 

Overproduction of these crops, along with the use of synthetic fertilisers and genetic modifications, is yielding foods lacking in nutrition that are contributing to agriculture pollution. 

Next time you’re browsing at your local supermarket, be sure to buy as much fresh, organic, whole foods as you can. Or better yet, visit your local markets and support the farmers. Plus, they definitely appreciate the support.

Real foods don't require the same production methods, making them a better choice for the environment and for your health.

Reduce food waste

Kitchen items stored in glass jars

Who hasn’t put leftovers in the fridge with the best intentions, only to later toss them into the rubbish bin?

It’s worth remembering that producing, cooking, storing, and disposing of our food requires  energy, water, and fuel. Thus, if you waste food you are also wasting valuable resources. 

Thankfully, there are steps we can take to reduce food waste and develop more sustainable habits around food consumption.

For example, make a grocery list and stick to it. Before you head out to shop, plan your meals and purchase your groceries accordingly. 

Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn’t pick up a few random treats. We all deserve a few goodies from time to time!!! But planning your meals before you hit the shops is a sure way to reduce unnecessary impulse buying!

Another way to reduce waste is to batch-cook your meals. While cooking, why not make a little extra for another day? Not only will this make your life easier,  it reduces energy usage, and allows you to package potential waste for another day.  

Just try to avoid the plastic containers. Glass jars and containers are a better way to store and freeze leftovers.

Make your own snacks and sauces

Homemade granola bars

Just like your main meals, making your own snacks and sauces gives you control over what you are eating. 

You get to know what you’re putting into your food and can reduce the bad things, like preservatives, sugar, artificial flavours, and GMOs; all the things not just bad for us but for the environment. 

So, instead of purchasing commercially-made, overpriced snacks wrapped in plastic, it pays to get a little creative and make some from the comfort of your own kitchen. 

Granola, hummus, and kale chips are all easy to make and are delicious, healthy treats

Take this one step further and start making your own condiments too. You will save money, stay a little healthier, and reduce plastic waste by making your own homemade ketchup and mayonnaise.

Towards a more positive impact on the environment

So, it isn’t just considering the clothes you wear, or the household and beauty products you use. Living a more sustainable lifestyle includes addressing the food you consume and the methods you use to prepare it. 

With small incremental changes, it can be super easy to get started on your sustainable culinary adventure.

Don't pressure yourself to be perfect. Making small, conscious steps to live more sustainably in all areas is the most beneficial thing we all can do for the environment and for ourselves.  

If you enjoyed reading this post then you might also like our Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Living.

And if you’re interested in creating more than just a sustainable kitchen, try adding some of our beautiful and ethically made essentials to your underwear drawer.

Lastly, don’t forget to join our mailing list to stay up to date with all things Bon+Berg!

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Siobhán Dunphy

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.