Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Climate-friendly eating

4/6/2023 by Genevieve (Gen) Geenen


A climate-friendly diet, or climatarian diet, is a healthy, climate-friendly, nature-friendly diet. The priority of the diet is to reduce the effects of climate change and improve the health of our planet.

A climatarian diet does not require one to adhere to strict food guidelines. Rather, it focuses on eating foods that don't contribute to environmental harm, making it easy to follow, even with a busy lifestyle.

With the increasing awareness of the negative impact that human activities have on the planet, people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Regardless of what your current diet might look like, there are a number of ways for you to begin your journey toward climate-friendly eating.

What does a climate-friendly diet look like?

Decreasing the consumption of animal products and increasing the intake of plant-based foods is essential for achieving a sustainable food system. In doing so, we can ensure that the nutritional needs of the population are met without transgressing planetary boundaries.

How to achieve a more climate-friendly diet

  • Eat a variety of foods. Try incorporating a wider variety of foods into your diet. Perhaps start with a family challenge to try a new food two to three times per month.
  • Increase your intake of plant-based foods. By consuming more foods derived from plants, you help reduce your carbon footprint, while improving the quality of your diet. Consider eating plant-based or vegetarian meals at least one day per week.
  • Eat smaller portions of meat, dairy and other animal-based foods. Decreasing, with no need to avoid altogether, your consumption of animal products, particularly red meat and dairy, is one of the most impactful ways to lower the environmental impact of your diet.
  • Aim for seasonal and locally sourced foods when possible. Eating produce that is in season helps reduce the energy and resources needed for storage and transportation. Look for farmers markets or consider joining a community-supported agriculture program to get fresh, locally grown produce.
  • Eat less processed and packaged foods. Highly processed foods come with a lot of unnecessary packaging, which contributes to waste and pollution. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible to minimize your consumption of packaged meals and snacks.
  • Reduce your food waste. To reduce food waste, plan your meals in advance. Only purchase what you need and make use of your leftovers. Composting repurposes food scraps to create rich soil for gardening.

Eating a climate-friendly diet protects the environment and your health. Consider the above ideas and choose one to start working on being kind to Mother Earth.

Genevieve (Gen) Geenen is a Mayo Clinic dietetic intern at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Arizona State University (ASU) and is currently completing her master's degree in Nutritional Science from ASU.