|Try to buy food produced as locally as possible, and also check if it has travelled; often food produced in the UK is flown to the continent for processing, then flown back and driven around the country between depots, effectively causing more pollution than food that came from the continent.
If you eat meat add one or two meatless meals per week into your diet. Industrial meat production requires huge energy inputs and creates noxious waste problems. The proliferation of factory farms is damaging the environment, and certain practices and the global nature of the industry creates conditions that promote the spread of diseases such as BSE and avian flu, potentially costing society billions and loss of life.
One does not need to give up meat and become vegetarian to make a difference. It is just a question of eating a bit less of it, not necessarily as part of every single meal of the day, even breakfast.
If everyone only decreased by a little the amount of meat they require this would already make a huge difference. Even the most devout carnivores can cut back on meat consumption without cramping their style and save money in the process.
When possible buy organic and free range meat products. Check that the company who produces them is actually meeting standards, since the food industry isn't well regulated and may not be as good as their label suggests. Factory farmed chickens are kept in sheds called broiler houses where up to 50,000 birds are crammed with less than 600cm2 of space per bird (about the space of a computer screen). If you don't buy free range organic chicken and eggs, you are condemning chickens to these conditions and eating meat which is essentially drowned in toxins from an animal who lives their whole life in fear, pain, boredom and discomfort.
Similar conditions will apply to all animals, and non-organic animals are most likely exposed to antibiotics and other chemicals to make them more productive, though usually with painful side effects and possible catastrophic future consequences for humans.
Try to buy organic vegetables and other products.
Similarly vegetables and other produce grown without the use of pesticides and genetic modification are much healthier for us and for the environment. These will also help you eat in accordance to what is available seasonally which is much more energy efficient.
Try an organic produce box scheme. Check on www.alotoforganics.co.uk website to see if there are any organic box schemes in your local area and sign up to get your organic fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products delivered to your home directly from a farm. Saves shopping time and ensures your food is pesticide free.
If you or your family eat fish, resolve to eat less and ensure that you are not buying species of fish whose stocks are under threat. The website www.fishonline.org has an excellent list of over-fished varieties to avoid buying.
Include as much raw fruit and vegetables as possible in all your meals. More minerals and vitamins are present in raw food than in cooked food and so are healthier and they cut down energy used on cooking.
Wherever possible buy products bearing the Fairtrade logo. Ask the company you're buying from about their human rights record, whether or not they monitor working conditions in their factories, etc. If you have the time, do a little research on web sites like Corporate Watch, Corporate Critic and Ethical Consumer, or by searching the web.
It is particularly important to UK and US citizens that you should avoid supermarkets wherever possible.
Around one third of food is rejected by supermarkets because it doesn't look good enough, and is then thrown away
According to the UK Competition Commission, Tesco consistently uses its monopoly position to pay suppliers 4% below the industry average; buy one get one free, and other offers, are usually offset by the farmers, NOT the supermarkets
Supermarkets usually know about animal and human rights abuses, but choose to ignore them and often cover them up;
Supermarkets damage local economies and operate sophisticated lobbying campaigns that swamp opposition from local communities and political parties;
ASDA have a known policy of attacking workers' rights to keep their low prices.
By buying from a supermarket when you could buy from a smaller, trusted local supplier, you are condoning the abuse of the farming industry, the abuse of human and animal rights, and you are supporting a sector of the retail industry that has devastated our local economies.