One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and related CO2 emissions from your consumption and diet is to purchase locally sourced fresh meats and produce, then prepare your own food in multi-meal quantities, and then do your best to minimize food waste.
The biggest drawback of eating fresh is the prep time and effort. Face it, we’re naturally lazy, especially when we’re hungry and time starved. That is what has fueled the prevalence of processed foods. Today’s grocery shelves are a shocking array of colorful boxes of processed ingredients – processed in some far off sanitary factory.
Vegetables, fruits and all non-red meat sources of proteins are all much less carbon (CO2) intensive in their production and the all the energy consumed delivering it to your kitchen. Anything you can do to minimize red meat from your diet is not only healthier but is a HUGE, step in the right direction, particularly in terms of the CO2 emitted because of your diet.
So, how do you minimize food prep time and still eat healthier?
Cook in Batches – Plan ahead and cook several meals or parts of meals at once. This will not only save you time in prep, but in clean-up, and can be more efficient in ensuring you use all your food purchases.
Use Plenty of Herbs – Herbs are rich with nutrients and all mouth-popping tastes to even the most uninteresting dishes.
Cook Related Foods In One Session – If you’re heating up your oven, while it’s still hot, pop-in a second dish and optimize all that energy consumed warming up the oven, getting it hot, and the offsetting energy used in the summer time to cool-down your kitchen again. Or, use that seasoned, already slightly dirty pan to cook your second dish.
Eat More Salads – Plain and simple. Pick-up some fresh lettuce and augment it with anything you have in your refrigerator: cheese, olives, leftovers, and cucumbers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can pull together a low carbon, inexpensive meal for one person, a couple, an entire family.
Must Haves For A Green Kitchen:
Herb Scissors – A real time saver….
Herb Keeper – Herbs can be expensive, don’t let them go to waste and keep them fresh and tasty.
Snapware Pyrex Food Keeper – Bake, snap on the lid and store for later in the week. Doesn’t get much easier.
Glass Cup Storage Containers – Protects the nutrients, minimize food waste
Salad Spinner – The starting point for any kitchen.
Salad Dressing Mixer – Basic dressing ingredients are surprisingly simple. If you do any cooking at all, you already have all the ingredients in your cabinet. Forego, those expensive dressings that are shipped long distances and make your own in your kitchen with local, fresher ingredients.
Buy these green cooking essentials for yourself or that special someone who is a novice in the kitchen. A small CO2 reducing gesture will help everyone reduce their carbon footprint, one meal, one bite, at a time. Plus, probably both your’s and their’s waist line as well.