How to Eat Sustainably on Your Travels

Trying delicious foods from around the world is one of the wonderful delights of travelling.  But did you know that the food choices you make while travelling could be harmful to the earth. 

This fantastic educational video from our friends at Greennovate and The Wellness Works will open your eyes to the process of getting your food to the table and give you an ever important insight into eating sustainably.

And don’t just think this video applies to your everyday life at home, it also applies to your travels.  Read our tips below on eating sustainably while travelling.

Eat Organic

Organic is no longer just a trendy word used by restaurants to buck up their prices.  With affordable organic restaurants springing up on all corners of the globe from small towns in Laos to the trendy streets of London and Shanghai, finding an organic meal while traveling is now easier then ever.

When you’re travelling seek out restaurants that use fresh, locally sourced organic produce.  Not only will your meal be more nutritious and pesticide free it will also be less harmful to the environment with no harmful pesticides running off into the soil and into our waterways.

You can find a growing list of organic restaurant listings from around the world on Organic Jetsetter.

Eat Fresh

Eating fresh foods is not only higher in nutrients but also better for the environment.

If you’re taking a long bus or train journey, why not swap un-healthy packets of chips and cookies for the healthier option of fresh un-packaged fruits. If fruits don’t take your fancy go to a nearby bakery and pick up freshly baked cakes and goodies rather then packed ones from your local convenience store.

By eating fresh un-packaged products you not only reduce the waste that ends up in landfall but reduce the CO2 emissions caused from the production of packaged food. And whatever you do, resist the urge to buy packaged bananas at 7-Eleven’s around the world. Banana’s have natural packaging, why wrap it up in plastic!?

Eat Seasonal Fruits/Vegetables

Did you ever think about how that out of season food produce got to your plate? Well probably similar to how you got to sit in that restaurant in Thailand.  Out of season produce often comes from international sources meaning it has to be flown or shipped then delivered by truck.  The transport of the produce alone emits tones of preventable C02 emissions into the atmosphere.

It’s easy eating seasonal; just ask the waiter or the attendant at the market stall “Is this in season?” 

Eat Locally

If you want to get a true taste of food culture eat at locally owned and run establishments that use local produce. Eating locally not only supports the local community but ensures that the food you’re eating didn’t have to emit tones of carbon just to get from the farm to your plate.  If you’re not sure where the ingredients come from just ask “Is the produce sourced locally?” 

Eat Less Meat

Did you know that delicious sizzling steak on your plate is doing harm to the environment?  It’s estimated that the raising of livestock and the associated clearing of land for their grazing and the growing of crops for feeding contributes roughly 18% of global green house gas emissions with cows producing a significant amount of that.  The question is should we sacrifice our meat eating ways to save the planet?

Considering meat is a staple in many cultures traditional foods and part of the food travel experience giving it up all together is not necessarily the answer.  What you can do is minimise your consumption of meat, eat organic meats and when you can swap high emitting meats such as beef for lower emitting meats like chicken and sustainably raised fish.

There are a bunch of fantastic vegetarian and vegan restaurants serving delicious foods around the world.  You can search for vegetarian/vegan restaurants at your travel destination on Happy Cow.   

Eat Street Food

With dozens of lights used to light up restaurants along with the air-conditioning, fans or heating that is often on all day, collectively restaurants make a significant contribution to greenhouse emissions.

When you’re travelling swap electricity sucking restaurants for street stalls where temperature is controlled by nature and the lighting provided by street lamps. Beyond the electricity saving nature of street stalls, street stalls are also great for the environment because they tend to serve locally sourced produce.

*At street stalls be aware of what the food is served in.  Avoid street stalls that serve their food in polystyrene containers if you can, they fill up landfills producing harmful chemicals when they start to break down.  Instead try and find street stall that serve in recyclable packaging such as cardboard. 

Do you have any organic restaurant recommendations from your travels? Tell us about it including your favorite dish in the comments below!

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