One of the best ways to reduce your CO2 footprint is to minimize your meat consumption and replace it with fresh produce.
The biggest drawback of eating fresh is the required know-how, prep time, and effort. Face it, at the end of a long work day, we’re naturally lazy and that’s what has fueled the endless selection of processed foods. Today’s grocery shelves are a shocking array of colorful boxes of processed ingredients – floor to ceiling, end-to-end containers of all shapes and sizes.
Vegetables, fruits and all non-read meat sources of proteins are all much less carbon intensive in their production and the challenge of delivering it to your kitchen. Anything you can do to minimize red meats from your diet is not only healthier but is a big, big step in the right direction, particularly in CO2 terms.
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 its 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.
Consider building a “green” kitchen collection for either yourself, a loved one, new neighbor, or friend who are just starting out in a new kitchen. Give them something handy to put them on the pathway of reducing their carbon footprint, one meal, one tasty bite at a time. Plus, probably, their waste line as well.