[Podcast] Healthy diets for a healthy planet

Bupa Logo at the reception
Specialist Dietitians, Cromwell Hospital
31 May 2024
Next review due May 2027

You may be keen to make your diet more sustainable. But how can you make sure you’re still getting all the nutrients you need?

In this podcast episode for Dietitians Week, two of our Bupa dietitians talk about how to eat a diet that is healthy for you and the planet. Listen to the podcast below or read on to find out more.

What does food have to do with sustainability?

The way we produce food and our eating habits have effects on the environment, such as:

  • creating greenhouse gasses
  • deforestation (the removal of trees from forests)
  • biodiversity loss (reduced numbers of animals, plants and other living things)
  • soil and water pollution

What is a sustainable diet?

A sustainable diet is one that:

  • does the least damage to the planet as possible
  • means everybody has enough food
  • is healthy and safe
  • protects the environment including our forests, soil and water
  • makes the most of the resources we have
  • creates a strong food industry
  • is culturally acceptable

How can we eat sustainably?

The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to make your diet more eco-friendly, and to have a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • Follow a more plant-based diet by adding in some meat-free meals. You could replace meat with foods such as tofu, pulses (chickpeas, lentils, split peas), and beans. Or vegetarian meat alternatives such as soya and mycoprotein.
  • Have a go at making ‘half and half’ meals. For example, lasagne or chilli made with half meat and half lentils.
  • Eat fish in moderation and make sure that it’s from sustainable sources. You can do this by checking for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo on the packet. Or use the Good Fish Guide.
  • Avoid single-use plastic where you can. Try using reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
  • Try to reduce the amount of food waste you create. Use leftover food to make other meals and freeze any extra portions if you make too much.
  • If you can, buy your food locally and seasonally.

How can I make sure I’m eating a healthy diet?

Try planning your meals to make sure you’re eating a balanced and varied diet. Aim for a variety of foods from all the food groups.

You can get all of the nutrients you need in a plant-based diet. But some nutrients can be more difficult to get from plant-based foods. For example, you may need to make sure you get enough protein if you reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Try including meat alternatives, pulses, quinoa, nuts, seeds, tofu and tempeh. And remember, a sustainable diet doesn’t have to be vegan or vegetarian.

If you’re eating less dairy, make sure the alternatives you choose are fortified (have added nutrients). Check the label and choose products with added calcium. Some dairy alternatives are also fortified with vitamins B12, B2 and D. For example, you could try fortified oat and soya drinks or yoghurts.

Are there one or two changes I could make to get started?

If you’d like to make your eating habits more sustainable but you’re not sure where to start, there are a few things you can try.

  • Look local. If possible, focus on foods that are available in season where you live. Learn about which foods are in season and plan your meals around these. You could also try using local markets if you can.
  • Grow something. It could be herbs in a pot, tomatoes on a patio or a small vegetable patch in your garden. Growing things gives you a greater understanding of what it takes to create food. It also gives you a source of food that doesn’t need any transport to get to your plate.

Every small change can have a positive impact on our health and the health of our planet. Why not see what works best for you?

Are you interested in learning more about your health? Discover more about our range of health assessments.

Bupa Logo at the reception
Iona Bell and Dawn Wilson
Specialist Dietitians, Cromwell Hospital



Atiya Henry, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

    • Eating patterns for health and environmental sustainability. British Dietetic Association., published August 2020
    • Sustainable diets and biodiversity: Directions and solutions for policy, research and action. The Food and Agriculture Organization., published 2012
    • Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems: Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission. The Lancet,, published 2019
    • The Vegan Eatwell Guide. The Vegan Society., published February 2020

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