Earth Day is a great time to celebrate our beautiful planet, but we can learn green eating habits that help the earth every day. Michigan State University Extension can help you eat greener.
Reduce your food waste by purchasing food around meal and menu planning. Katherine Hale, Extension Educator says, “This can help reduce your daily stress by planning out meals ahead of time and reduce your food budget by buying only what you need.” Plan your meals around what is left in the refrigerator and also plan meals to cook once but eat several times with a new meal plan. Hale likes to steam a large amount of vegetables at one time and then use broccoli or cauliflower in salads or additions to pasta dishes later in the week or as a take to work lunch. By having meals planned you can reduce the amount of food that spoils or gets thrown out.
Start a compost pile of vegetable scraps and if pre-cooked vegetables get old, just add them to the compost pile. You will reap a wonderful soil amendment for growing future plants.
Buying what is in season is usually less expensive and you can buy in larger quantities, blanch if necessary and freeze for later use. This reduces the packaging that comes with multiple smaller packages.
Use real dishes instead of paper and cloth napkins to reduce your daily waste. Eating at home as a family encourages family time and conversation while also reducing calories and packaging from fast food restaurants.
When cooking, try doubling recipes and you can freeze or repackage in reusable containers to eat for lunches and meals later in the week that will save you time by just reheating. For example, try roasting several chicken breasts at one time – you will use less energy cooking once, and use this protein source for chicken sandwiches for lunch or add the chicken to pasta later in the week. These methods require a little more planning but will save time and energy when you can get several meals out of cooking just once.
Take advantage of end of season price reductions on tomatoes and other vegetables that can be made into chili recipes and spaghetti sauce that can be frozen or canned in reusable containers. You can save money and increase health by buying real food and less packaging that produces less waste.
You can eat greener every day and be earth friendly. Celebrate Earth Day!