Today, people are not only eating overly large portions full of sugar and preservatives, but we are wasting more food than ever. And as some people struggle to put food on the table due to climate change, many of us buy and eat whatever we want, without second-guessing our good choices. Well, it’s time to become a more responsible consumer and adopt the following eco-friendly eating habits today:

Fill your plate with plants

You don’t have to become a vegan or even vegetarian in order to introduce more plants to your diet. Plants have a much smaller eco-footprint yet they provide your body with many essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Make sure your plate always contains at least 50% of plant-based foods like veggies, legumes, nuts and whole grains. This is an easy and fast way to improve your eco-friendliness. And if you want to go further, schedule one day a week to go 100% vegetarian or vegan.

food waste

Reduce food waste

We’re all guilty of wasting food, no matter if we forget about our veggies in the fridge or opt for takeout instead of home-cooked meals. But, it’s possible to reduce food waste with a few simple tricks. For instance, grab a few reusable and durable plastic containers (these can last you a lifetime), fill them with your fresh produce and label them with contents and dates. It’s also crucial to store your food properly. While some ingredients can be left on the counter, others will last much longer in the fridge or even freezer. Learn about food storing and you’ll reduce your waste immensely.

Cook larger batches

To reduce your gas, electricity, water, refrigeration and food waste, try to make larger batches of food when you’re cooking. This way, you’ll get to enjoy your meal and have plenty of leftovers for dinner or lunch the next day. It might seem like a harder task to cook larger batches of food, but it takes almost exactly the same time and effort. Some of the best meals to cook once and eat twice (or even more times) are chilies, soups, tacos, sauces and rice.

Stock up on healthy and eco-friendly snacks

If you think snacking is harmless, think again. Many snacks like potato chips waste a lot of water during production and produce huge amounts of CO2 during transport. Plus, they are disastrous to your diet and health, containing very little nutrients and too many calories. A better solution to your snacking needs is healthy vegan snacks that are not only friendlier to the environment, but also much better for your body. When buying vegan snacks, make sure to check the label and opt for products that are made as close as possible to you and contain only natural ingredients, plenty of dietary fiber, no added MSG, no genetically modified ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives—and don’t worry, it’s more than possible to find such tasty snacks!

Recycle, reuse and compost everything you can

Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent food waste and packaging excess. In those cases, make sure to keep your waste out of the bin by recycling all the packaging and containers that are suitable for this action. Also, some foods come in very handy containers that can be reused for leftovers, packing food for work or gym and storing office appliances or sawing tools—reuse everything you can. And lastly, organic matter that is left from the food preparation process can be mixed with your grass clippings and garden waste and turned into excellent food for the lawn and flowers.

Eat slowly and mindfully

In order to truly taste what you’ve prepared for yourself or what others made for you, try to be present in the moment of eating. Take your time to cherish the food you’ve been provided by looking at it, smelling it and enjoying bite after bite. While you eat mindfully, you’ll train your brain to make more eco-friendly choices and consider what exactly it is you’re putting in your body. This habit will not only make you a greener member of society but also allow you to better control your weight and health.

You don’t have to adopt a whole new lifestyle to become a more eco-conscious eater. With these easy tips, you’ll reduce your waste and carbon footprint and enjoy a much healthier diet in the process.

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