WWF’s Livewell easy steps for eating and shopping more sustainably are as follows:
Eat more plant-based foods
This means increasing your intake of vegetables, beans and nuts. This is all about adding choice and flavour to our diets. We can take a lot of inspiration from China and Malaysia, where much of the food is plant-based. Also, the Mediterranean has much variety; from delicious salads and vegetable-based stews, to tagines, pasta and rice dishes. The bottom line is that plants can be full of flavour too.
A colourful meal is a healthy meal
When adapting our diet, it’s important to continue to expand our taste horizons. Currently too many people rely on the same dishes and same core ingredients, for example, chicken. By having a colourful plate we will be adding variety to our diet whilst ensuring a more nutritious, natural, flavourful and exciting meal.
Shop smart, waste less
When shopping, remember to bring your own reusable bags with you to carry your shopping, and choose to buy loose products or those with less packaging. This also helps to control the amount we buy so we take home only what we need. When we throw away food we are throwing away natural resources and money. The average UK household wastes approximately 30% of the food it buys – that’s like taking £100 out of the bank and putting £30 straight into the bin. Get creative with leftovers so your pennies and food provisions stretch even further.
Moderate your meat
This recommendation covers both red and white meat. Recent diet trends have meant that the most popular meat in the UK today is chicken, with most people eating it every day. Eating less chicken does not mean we will go without protein, as you can find it in many plant sources. It’s just up to us to expand our horizons and try new foods.
Know what you’re eating
This is important, if a little tricky. We must become more aware of what’s on the packaging of the food we buy. There are various standards you can find on food packets that make sure our food is sourced and produced sustainably. Logos to look out for next time you’re shopping include Fairtrade (protecting farmers and workers in developing countries), Freedom Food (animal welfare), MSC and ASC (seafood), and RSPO (palm oil).
Ditch ultra-processed foods
Eat less processed food as they often contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt. We should consider these as treats, not staples. They also tend to be far more resource-intensive to produce.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be helping to reduce the impact of climate change, conserving ecosystems on which precious wildlife depend, and improving your and your family's health and wellbeing with nutritious and delicious meals.
Ken Hom OBE’S Crackling rice paper asparagus rolls
Asparagus, native to the Mediterranean, has been cultivated in the West since antiquity. Now widely cultivated throughout the world, it is a popular vegetable, prized for its delicate flavour. In this recipe, Ken uses rice paper that is made from rice flour, water and salt, an easy sustainable wrapper. He loves its ability to envelope food with a crispy crackling skin while keeping the food moist. It is a simple dish to make, a vegetarian treat.
RAYMOND BLANC OBE’S SPRING PEA RISOTTO
Fresh, sweet peas combined with the luxurious fat grain of the rice makes for an exceptional spring dish, with just enough heartiness if the weather isn’t yet that warm. The variety of pea Raymond chose for this dish was Feltham First, which is a long-standing British favourite – a low-growing, early variety that produces lovely sweet, but not too sweet, peas. Rather than using a chicken or vegetable stock, he wanted to try making it just with the pea pods to intensify the flavour – and also because he never forgets my mother’s mantra, ‘thou shalt not waste’!
TOM AIKENS’ GRILLED BREAM, SHAVED FENNEL, PISTACHIO & TUMERIC, COURGETTE DUKKAH
Tom wanted to create a dish that was simple in its preparation but used interesting ingredients to make it super tasty. The great thing is that not only does it not require too much effort, but it can easily be made in advance. Using plenty of raw vegetables and a hit of turmeric this dish is healthy, colourful and comforting. It’s also great for vegetarians, or anyone mindful of how much fish they are eating. Just simply leave the bream off and enjoy the flavoursome, substantial salad.