Climate-friendly nutrition: 10 eco-friendly foods

Many people already know that regional fruits and vegetables are more climate friendly than meat or butter. But did you know that vegetable drinks, tofu and soy yogurt also have significantly lower CO2?two– Do you have a footprint that animal products?

The Heidelberg Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) published a study examining the ecological footprint of 200 foods. [1] The results are clear: a balanced vegan diet is not only better for animals and our health, but also for our climate. Below are the foods with the lowest COtwo-Balance sheet.

1. Fresh fruits and vegetables

Vegetables are clearly the number 1 most climate friendly food. For example, carrots and white cabbage with 0.1 kilos of COtwo the smallest ecological footprint per kilo of vegetables. Other indigenous vegetables such as aubergines, cauliflowers, onions, pumpkins, potatoes, leeks, beets, celery, spinach and courgettes have a footprint of only 0.2 kilos of COtwo in. The most climate-friendly fruits are organic apples and peaches.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it is essential that they are fresh and regional. As soon as these are transported from abroad or packed in jars or cans, the climatic balance increases considerably.


2. Vegetable drinks

Alternatives to oat, spelt, almond and soy milk have a carbon footprint of 0.3 to 0.4 kilos of COtwo – that’s not even a third of the COtwo, which is expelled for the production of cow’s milk. This is due in part to the fact that animal feed in agriculture is often grown in areas such as the Amazon rainforest and that cows release methane, a polluting greenhouse gas.

soy milk

3. Oatmeal

The oatmeal comes with a COtwo-0.6 balance not only environmentally friendly, they are also among the richest foods in protein and therefore good for the environment, for our health and for animals.

Fitness Tip: Combining with protein-rich vegetable drinks increases the biological value of oat flakes.


4. Soy yogurt

As with plant-based beverages, the carbon footprint of soy yogurt is many times lower than that of the animal version. One kilo of soy yogurt produces only 0.6 kilos of COtwowhile for a kilo of yogurt made with cow’s milk at least 1.7 kilos of COtwo be expelled.


5. Bread

Bread also behaves very well in the study: 0.6 kilos of CO are emitted during the preparation of mixed breadtwo expelled – regardless of whether it is organic or not. The white rolls have a slightly higher footprint at 0.7 kilos.


6. Oatmeal Kitchen

Once again, when comparing dairy products, the cruelty-free variant performs significantly better than the animal-based variant. For example, oatmeal cream has an ecological footprint of just 0.6, while cow’s milk cream has an alarming balance of 4.2. The production of organic cow’s cream causes even 5.3 kilos of COtwo.

Alternatives to vegan cream

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from steamed, peeled and fermented soybeans that are pressed into a block. Just like drinks, yoghurt and cream, this soy product is extremely environmentally friendly. For every kilo of tempeh, 0.7 kilos of COtwo caused


8. Soybean curd

Here, too, soybeans are a climate winner: the ecological footprint of soybean curd is 0.7 kilos of COtwo less than a third of the quark footprint made from cow’s milk.

vegan alternatives to quark

9. tofu

Tofu is also made from soybeans and is one of the most popular meat alternatives. No wonder: for schnitzel, sausages, and pork, beef, or chicken fillets, not only are animals tortured and killed, but tons of greenhouse gases are also emitted. While a kilo of tofu in a COtwobalance of 1.0, 21.7 kilos of CO are needed to produce one kilo of organic beeftwo pushed. Game meat and fish meat also have a very bad climatic balance with more than 10 kilos of COtwo in.

10. Soybean granules

If you want to prepare spaghetti bolognese or lasagna in a climate- and animal-friendly way, you can be happy: the soybean pellets produce only 1.0 kilos of COtwowhile ground beef emits more than 15 kilos of the polluting greenhouse gas.

Studies show that a vegan diet is more climate-friendly

The list of the most climate-friendly foods is further proof that we protect our environment better with a vegan diet. A study published in 2022 says that with a vegan world we could reduce current CO₂ emissions by 68 percent by 2100. [2] Not surprisingly, since animal husbandry emits more COtwo than the entire world transport sector. [3]

So you too can go vegan and help stop the climate crisis.

Climate-friendly cooking – that’s how it works!

Now you know which foods are the least harmful to the climate, but how do you prepare them in a climate-friendly way? Here you will find tips for an environmentally friendly kitchen:

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