A more sustainable everyday is served on a plate: 5 tips to responsible eating

A plant-based diet, self-sufficiency and sustainable choices at the grocery store are easy steps towards more responsible eating. In addition to our own well-being, the environment benefits from our responsible decisions. Take a look at our tips for ecological eating at home and at the Nolla cabin.

When incorporating sustainability into everyday life, one of the most important things to consider is food. What we put on our plates is one of the most significant factors defining the sustainability of our everyday choices.

At the Nolla cabin, food, just like energy, is a contributor to its emissions and thus has a key role in making the cabin more sustainable. The cabin features a stove that runs on Neste My Renewable Diesel, but has no refrigerator, as they are known to be one of the most energy-consuming appliances. To store groceries, bringing along a travel cooler or utilizing cold seawater are sustainable options.

1. Choose vegetables and fruit - during their seasonal peaks

The most reliable way to more sustainable eating is to favor a plant-based diet. A good tip before heading to the grocery store, is to study the seasonal calendar of fruit and vegetables. During their peak season, imported vegetables may be even tastier and more environmentally friendly than their Finnish alternatives.

2. Eat local

When pursuing a sustainable diet, preferring local ingredients is important, because their production chain does not generate as much emissions. The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) defines local food as hyper-locally produced domestic food with a traceable origin, producer and manufacturer.

Trendy long-distance travellers, such as avocados, can be replaced with local berries and vegetables, exotic quinoa can be substituted with oats. that are sold on local marketplaces. When visiting the Nolla cabin, locally sourced ingredients can be bought from Helsinki Market Square, which is where the ferry for Vallisaari departs.

3. Set the table with offerings from the Nordic nature

The pure Nordic nature is filled with nourishing food. In Finland, everyman’s rights allow anyone to pick berries and mushrooms from forests well into fall. Vallisaari is a protected natural habitat, but picking food for personal consumption is allowed.

4. Grow it yourself!

With some ingenuity, self-sufficiency can be practised with a few light-weight practices, regardless of one’s surroundings. Potted plants and seedlings can be used to make a herb garden indoors. Another option for self-sufficiency is to sprout veggies like beans, lentils or peas. Sprouting is an easy way to grow nutritious food any time of the year, because sprouts don’t even require sunlight to grow.

5. Pay attention to packaging

When buying groceries, paying attention to how they are packaged is vital in reducing the overall environmental impact of food. Plastic packaging reduces the amount of food waste and is a light-weight material in comparison to metal and glass packaging, thus reducing emissions from transport. Plastic packaging does not, however, get recycled effectively within a closed loop, so avoiding over-packaged foods is not a bad idea. Favoring more sustainable eating habits is not difficult, it simply requires investing some time and effort into learning new habits, one at a time.   

Responsible eating in a nutshell:

  1. Favor a plant-based diet
  2. Study the seasonal peaks of fruit and vegetables
  3. Eat local
  4. Grow and harvest food yourself
  5. Bring your own non-disposable bags and dishes along when buying food

We have embarked on a journey towards a carbon neutral future. However, it takes more than one to reach zero. Together with our partners, Neste will explore new ideas and steer the world towards a better future.