Based on the government's nutritional guidelines, and put together for us by the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (at the University of Aberdeen), our new Livewell report illustrates how some surprisingly simple tweaks to our daily eating can:
· improve national health
· reduce the impact of our food on the natural world
· and help the UK meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The food we eat - growing, producing and processing it - has a massive impact on the planet. When rainforests are cut down to plant soya to feed to our cattle, or to produce palm oil for our margarine, it has serious consequences for people and wildlife - not just in the local area but far beyond.
Food is responsible for 30% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, if you take into account land-use change and deforestation - so it even has a direct effect on climate change.
The bottom line is, if we want to protect the species and forests that are at the heart of WWF's work, we have to fundamentally change our food system.
But it doesn't mean you have to go veggie!
The debate on the environmental impacts of food has often been polarised around meat-eating versus vegetarianism. We find that unhelpful. It's true livestock has a high environmental impact, but the main debate is about sustainable versus unsustainable food choices. It's about balancing our diet, not necessarily eliminating foods.
The Livewell report outlines simple principles for consumers that don't require any radical changes to diet. And it could even save you money. You can still eat meat or fish every day, and still enjoy those old favourites like chicken curry and macaroni cheese. But it asks us to consider not demanding meat at every single meal...
We're advised to:
· Eat more plant-based foods - fruit, vegetables, pulse and cereals - especially if they're locally grown, in season
· Eat less meat - meat of all kinds, red or white, is a hotspot" in terms of environmental impact
· Eat fewer highly-processed foods, which tend to be more resource-intensive to produce.
We also want the Livewell report to feed constructive debate and stimulate action. The urgent next step needs to be for government to get together with the food industry to promote sustainable eating habits and develop broader dietary advice.
For example, minimising food waste (a shocking 40% of our food ends up in the bin or in landfill); choosing sustainable MSC-certified fish (so you know it comes from well-managed sources); and looking for products that contain sustainably-sourced palm oil or soya.
Our Livewell report presents a win/win plan for the country - improving people's diets, reducing strain on the health service, and helping meet environmental and Climate Act targets. A tasty combination.
Find out more about the Livewell menu - and follow our own experiences of the diet
Read the full Livewell report
See the connections between food and climate change in 'How low can you go?' report.