When it comes to food and nutrition, we often think about what is best for ourselves and our families, but how often do we pause to consider what is best for the environment? Here are a few tips to lessen your food footprint and show Planet Earth some love:
- Buy local. One of the biggest environmental benefits of buying locally grown fruits and vegetables is a decrease in the fuel needed- and emissions created by trucks and planes delivering food. Plus, buying local often means the available foods are in season, when they are most flavorful. Yum!
- Start a garden. Speaking of local, you can’t get much closer than your own back yard! Don’t let the lack of land prevent you from growing your own food. Herbs, tomatoes, green beans, and strawberries are among some of the edible crops that can easily be grown in a pot.
- Be a reducetarian. No, that word did not make it through spell check, but maybe one day it will! Reducetarians have eating patterns that fall somewhere between meat eaters and vegetarians. They actively try to eat less meat which is environmentally taxing due to the fuel needed to feed, process, and deliver animals for consumption. Also, compared to plants, animals take significantly more water to raise, which is an important factor everywhere, but especially in Live + Breathe’s Southern California home. One way to get started with reducitarianism by practicing “Meatless Monday”.
- Cut back on food waste. Whether it is eating the skin on the potato, using bones from a roasted chicken to make your own stock, or sautéing beet greens, think twice before tossing your least favorite food part. One other way to cut back on food waste is to use leftovers in salad, on pizza, or in soups. If you do have kitchen scraps, consider if they could be prepped to plant in your garden (think scallions, ginger, or even pineapple if you don’t mind waiting a few years to harvest).
- Put a lid on it! When it comes to cooking, be sure to cover pots and pans to cut back on time needed to heat your food, ultimately saving energy.
- Reuse, reuse, reuse. If you’re in the market for food storage containers, think about using mason jars or washable glass or plastic containers instead of plastic wrap, tin foil, or plastic bags which typically can be used only once or a few times. At work, consider bringing your own coffee cup and eating utensils instead of relying on disposable products and of course, don’t forget those reusable shopping bags!
Let’s all do our part in conserving limited resources, preventing landfill waste, and decreasing harmful gases so generations to come can experience this wonderful place we call Earth!
- Nikki Sanner, RDN