Topic 3.4: Tips on following a healthy and sustainable diet

Picture from The European Food Information Council

Most fruits and vegetables have low environmental impact. Exceptions:

  • those fragile, or requiring refrigeration (e.g., salads, berries)
  • grown in protected conditions (e.g., hot-house tomatoes, cucumbers)
  • those using a lot of resources during transport (green beans, mange-touts, or berries imported from the southern hemisphere).

Consuming only what we need decreases demands on food supply by lowering excess production.
Additionally, it helps us maintaining a healthy body weight.

To reduce ecological footprint for meat-eaters: limiting frequency and quantity of meat consumption to 1-2 times a week, having meat-free days and choosing more sustainable meats like chicken over beef or locally produced meat.

The production of non-refined cereals are generally less resource intensive than refined ones as they require fewer processing steps. 

They also have many health benefits (see topic 1).

Overfishing is resulting in wild fish stocks depletion:

  • consume fish and seafood 1-2 times weekly to obtain the healthy omega-3 fatty acids and reduce pressure on wild fish stocks.
  • choose fish and seafood marked with a sustainability label from certified organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council.

Consume, in moderation, low-fat unsweetened dairy products daily.

Consume high-fat cheese occasionally.

For those eliminating dairy, opt for plant-based drinks that are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Avoid dairy alternatives that are ultra-processed.

Europe has high standards of water quality and safety.