5 ways to go green in… food
Last month I wrote my second blog post about how you can make your daily beauty rituals a little ‘greener’. This month I want to talk about my favorite subject: food! More specifically, I want to look at how we can make sure the way we eat is healthy and sustainable both for ourselves and for the planet as a whole. In this blog post, I will share five little things that I do that make a contribution.
1. Eat local
We can reduce our ecological footprint by eating more seasonal vegetables. I also just really like using Dutch heirloom (often forgotten) vegetables to make new healthy recipes. What helps me to do this is my fruit and vegetable calendar. It helps you to see exactly what’s in season at any given time in the Netherlands. Helpful, right? Ideally, we’d all be growing our own vegetables, but if you don’t have the space (which is the case for me, living in Amsterdam), you can find these seasonal vegetables at your local organic food store, the farmer’s market or green grocer.
2. Experiment with new (vegetable) recipes
Despite the fact that I have been a flexitarian for quite some time (eating mostly plants and occasionally poultry and fish), I’ve been noticing more and more that I crave vegetables and don’t even miss a small piece of meat or fish. I also really love making (new) plant-based dishes that are so tasty that even non-vegetarians or non-flexitarians don’t miss the addition of meat or fish. There are so many delicious vegetarian recipes out there, like this tasty pumpkin curry or this cashew ramen, yum! In addition to being better for you, a plant-based diet is also better for the planet. Fish and meat production is much more resource-intensive, especially in terms of water and energy use, than vegetable and fruit production is. The current world-wide population of consumers (about 7 billion people) demands too much from the Earth. If our current levels of consumption are sustained, we would need the resources of no fewer than three Earth-like planets to meet the demand. And, you guessed it, we only have one. Maintaining our current standard of living has led to pollution, deforestation and, even worse, global warming and the exhaustion of our planet. To help combat these processes, I made the conscious decision to eat less to no fish or meat. When I do, I always choose local, sustainable, high-quality products. In this way, I make a contribution to protecting the natural world both above and under water. I know what you’re thinking… What effect does this have on such a large-scale problem. I’ll admit, I’m not going to be able to solve the world’s problems on my own, but if we all choose to make more informed and environmentally conscious decisions regarding fish and meat consumption and share what we learn with our friends and family, it’s only a matter of time before enough people make enough changes that we will see an impact, both in the short term and the long term.
3. Stock up wisely
To avoid food waste, I advise doing your grocery shopping once or twice a week. I myself find it tough to stick to this, especially because I test new recipes on a daily basis and do a lot of prep ahead of time, but I know that this approach (1) saves money by preventing me from making extra small purchases at the grocery store and (2) leads to me throwing away less food. I usually head to the (organic) market on Saturday and buy delicious, fresh vegetables and fruit for the entire week. I plan the recipes I intend to make ahead of time and write a grocery list that includes everything I’ll need. This way I buy exactly and only what I need.
4. Be creative with leftovers
My second tip for reducing food waste is to make one evening a week ‘leftovers’ night. Sometimes I’ll just put out all the week’s leftovers on the table, buffet style and other times, I’ll use whatever leftover vegetables I have on hand to make a tasty soup or stir fry. Still can’t use everything up within a week? Freeze your leftovers to enjoy them later. Tip: invest in some good food storage containers (preferably BPA free or non-plastic) to keep your leftovers fresh or properly frozen.
5. Go green when you eat out
Feel like going out for a meal but want to make it ‘sustainable’? No problemo! When I go out to eat, I choose dishes or restaurants that serve primarily (organic) vegetables and sustainable fish and meat. There aren’t a ton of restaurant that meet these criteria to choose from, but by eating at these kinds of places more often, you’ll be creating demand for sustainable business practices, which in turn will encourage businesses (to continue) to be conscious about their purchases and suppliers.
There you have it! My five tips… Think I left something out? I’m super curious about your tips and tricks so share your stories in the comments section under this blog post.
Lots of love and go green! ; )