Many people greatly enjoy the daily ritual of preparing meals. Cooking can be a fulfilling activity that can lead to many pleasant evenings spent with family and friends, perhaps along with drinking wine and having interesting conversation over a lovingly prepared meal. Of course, enjoying a good meal is not only a social event, but something that should also nourish your body with the right nutrition. Cooking at home gives you the power to decide which essential nutrients that you’ll put into your body. You also have a choice as to where your ingredients will come from and what impact your meals will have on the environment. Cook delicious and ethical meals by following some of these guidelines:
Buy Local: When you buy food, it’s good to source from local farmers for a couple of different reasons. First, you’ll be directly supporting the business of your community members, rather than buying from a supermarket which has products shipped in from all corners of the country, and even internationally. The shipping of these products, in itself, contributes to emissions and shipping waste related to packaging – pollution that can be avoided when you buy from a farm that’s just miles away. When you go to a local farmer’s market or sign up with a local CSA program, it’s also likely that the produce and meats you buy will be fresher and more responsibly cultivated than those grown using industrial farming methods.
Avoid Wasting Food: The modern consumer profile is characterized by crass over-consumption. When grocery shopping, this manifests in buying too much food than what you can eat before it spoils, and needing to throw food out as a result. Household food waste is a major part of the total annual waste stream that makes its way into U.S. landfills every year. Avoid having to throw food out by:
- Carefully making a list before shopping and purchasing only the items you’ll need to make planned-out meals. By planning healthy dinners ahead of time, you’ll also be able to better avoid those “there’s nothing in the refrigerator, let’s just get fast food” diet pitfalls.
- Trying to think of creative uses for leftovers.
- Considering starting a compost pile or an indoor compost bin to recycle discarded food into valuable fertilizer for your garden or houseplants.
- Buying in bulk so that you can measure out exact amounts of dry goods to meet your cooking or baking needs. This will eliminate having leftover materials that will likely go stale and need to be thrown out.
Green Your Kitchen Utensils:
Buying cheap pots and pans and kitchen utensils may seem to be easy on your wallet, but in the long run, you’ll benefit more from investing in sturdy, reliable items that will last you a long time. On the environmental side, this will help you avoid contributing to the cycle of disposability that’s perpetuated when you throw out cheap, broken items only to buy similarly chinzy items to replace them.
You take pride in the meals that you spend time making for your loved ones. By using some of these tips for making your kitchen more eco-friendly, you can also take pride in the knowledge that you’re helping to reduce waste and that your meals are not being prepared at the expense of the planet.
Article written for E14 house and home cleaners