Environmentally friendly eating is becoming more and more popular than we think. Eco friendly menus are starting to become the norm rather than the exception in restaurants, and green foods are filling up our supermarkets, and for good reason - because more of us are understanding the benefits of environmentally friendly eating. So whether you are concerned about the quality of your food, the impact on the planet or simply interested, here are 20 Ways for Environmentally Friendly Eating.
1. Seasonal Menus
Eating seasonal food items eliminate unnecessary stress on the environment and make sure that you are getting the freshest ingredients straight from the farm. Because of modern technology we are able to get strawberries and avocados all year round, but they are genetically modified or forced to grow out of season to meet the demands of the masses. It’s much better to wait for Mother Nature to do her job and eat what is available at the time.
2. Local Produce
Locally grown produce is making a big comeback into restaurant menus and is a huge part of environmentally friendly eating. Local is definitely fresher and by supporting your local community and not supporting modified and imported products, our environment has a chance to develop at its own, defined and natural pace.
This is an important one. Often we have leftovers that get shoved in the back of the fridge, never to see the light of day until you take it out to trash it. It saves wastage and energy if you if you add in a few fresh ingredients and revamp leftovers for the following day’s lunch meal or dinner. Or why not pack any food leftover from the previous meal for a nutritious lunch box meal to take to work.
Look out for products with excess packaging and eschew them in favour of those that have recyclable or reduced packaging as they have less impact on the environment. Loads of packaging is often made from non-sustainable materials that cannot be recycled and just end up bulking up the rubbish dumps.
5. Cook Less
Cooking meals every day and night puts extra strain on our environment. You can choose to cook a meal every second day, use the left overs or why not put some meat and veggies on the outside BBQ and reduce the use of electricity and or gas. Doing this just a couple of times a week will reduce your carbon footprint.
6. Meat Free Mondays
Part of a green eating plan is reducing the amount of meat in your daily diet, and by just eliminating meat from meals for one or two days a week and eating healthy, sustainable and tasty vegetarian meals will make an impact on your health as well as the environment.
Many households and offices already have put recycling practices into their daily routines. Separating your food and packaging into plastic, paper, tin and perishable items to be recycled makes a substantial impact on consumable waste and reduce the amount of rubbish that makes its way to the rubbish dumps and landfill sites.
8. Organic Produce
Eat organic foods as it is beneficial to the environment as well as to your health. Fruit and vegetables that are grown organically, without the use of harmful pesticides, toxic fertilizers and genetic hormones will provide you with the nutrients and the minerals that our bodies were designed to use.
9. Raw Foods
Vegans and other raw food enthusiasts have acquired somewhat of an unfair reputation of being radicals, when in fact, they knew the secrets long before us meat guzzlers did and they are eons ahead of us in terms of environmental friendly foods. Raw foods and organic obviously are the very best food choice for our bodies, not only are you saving unnecessary cooking energy, you are preserving the vitamins and minerals that were there in the first place.
10. Grow Your Own
There is absolutely no substitute for growing your own vegetables and fruit. It is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. And with all of the funky new age recycled designs for potting veggies on windowsills and in tires and in many small spaces, there is no excuse for anybody not to have some sort of little veggie and herb patch at home. Teach your kids now, what our Grandparents already knew about grow your own.
A concept that should be as integral as recycling in people’s homes is surprisingly a foreign one, and there are still many families that need to get onto the composting bandwagon. Many people recycle their paper and plastic, but when asked what they do with their teabags and vegetable peelings, they look at you in surprise and tell you er, to throw them in the waste bin. Time to start a compost heap in little corner of the garden to mix in all those apple cores and potato peels - you can even throw in your ash from a wood fire and newspaper.
12. Free Range Poultry
Chicken is one of the staples in many families’ diets and because of the serious demand for the meat, farmers are producing them at an astounding rate, and I can guarantee you that if anyone of us had to visit a battery chicken farm it would change our lives forever. Yes, so it is no secret that organic produce is not cheap, but when the demand goes up, the supply will drop in price and personally it feels much better to know that the chicken on your plate had a happy and healthy life with its mates on the farm. Chicken is a very obvious target to improve your environmentally friendly eating.
13. Shop Smarter
The amount of money that is spent on providing shoppers with plastic and paper carrier bags is absolutely astronomical. And most people never take those same bags back with them to the store; in fact many people just throw them away. They could be recycled and stored for future use for shopping, transporting wet swimming towels from the beach, muddy shoes and the like.
14. Fresh with Fish
The subject of fish has become a controversial one of late, with many types of fish getting bad press. Claims of chemical additives are not completely unfounded which is putting many fish lovers off as they are not entirely sure what to choose now. Do a little bit of research to find out which type of fish is being farmed organically and sustainably and which type of fish are not endangered.
15. Waste Reduction
With our instant lifestyles we are so quick to use things that can provide us with instant gratification and when it comes to napkins, plates and utensils there is no exception. Instead of using everything that is disposable, why not get back to your roots and start using those cloth napkins, the fancy ones, real plates and your best silver. Every meal will become an occasion and your household waste will be minimal.
16. Double up
Environmentally friendly eating can happen easier than you may think. One way is to cook double the quantity every time you make a meal and freeze it. That way you will only have to actually cook half the time, and for anybody who does the cooking at home, this should be more than enough incentive. And you will save on electricity, gas and cooking time - instead you can warm it up in the oven and crack a bottle of wine, organic of course, and put your feet up.
17. Tap Water
The last few decades have enjoyed a bottled water revolution, and our tap water shunned for all eternity. And bottled water has become somewhat of a status symbol, with bottles of Evian not so surreptitiously poking out of designer handbags everywhere. It is the bottles itself that is causing a huge impact on the environment, and since this goes for beer too, next time just order both out of the tap.
Another controversial subject is the one of dairy cow and antibiotics. In order to meet the high demands for dairy, antibiotics are fed to dairy cows to increase their milk production. There are huge repercussions for both the cow and the consumer of the milk products and other dairy products as well as the environment around us. Take the time to find out which retailer in your area has hormone free dairy product ranges for you to buy to include in your environmentally friendly eating regime.
19. Food Miles
If you want to go green with food, it isn’t just about what you consume. It is also considering the origin of your food. If you are already doing your bit to save on food miles because you shop locally, you might also think about leaving the car behind and walking to the store. Take your own natural fiber bags and you’re doing even more to help the environment.
Get back to a time gone by, when our Grannies rallied around preserving and bottling fruit and veggies and making jams and pickles to be enjoyed all year round. Waste not want not, is one of the most powerful statements when it comes to eco friendly eating, and we can enjoy our most favorite food items even when they are out of season, without putting pressure on the environment.
Environmentally friendly eating is actually easier that you think and once you embrace your creative side, eco friendly food quickly becomes a way of life for everyone. The bottom line is if we don’t all start incorporating green foods into our diets soon, our environment will be in seriously dire straits. Which one of these 20 Ways for Environmentally Friendly Eating inspired you?
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