5 Low-Waste Cooking Habits To Embrace
by Erin Allgood
More and more people are starting to embrace sustainability in their day-to-day lives. One area where we can all make a big impact is to reduce our food waste and limit single use plastics.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that one third of all food produced in the world is either lost or wasted, with fruits and vegetables clocking in with the highest food wastage rates.
Similarly, single-use plastics are prevalent throughout the food system, whether in the form of plastic straws, grocery bags, or food packaging. The Earth Day Organization estimates that roughly half of all the plastic produced in the world ends up as a single-use product.
Single use plastics, along with food waste, represent unnecessary waste streams, but with a little planning and know-how it is possible to reduce your overall impact.
Here are 5 low-waste habits to embrace:
1. Take Notes And Shop Strategically
One way to reduce food waste in the home is to start tracking the meals you make and how much food goes into the trash. For instance, you may realize that a gallon of milk lasts two weeks in your household, but it’s usually starting to smell funky before you make your next trip to the grocery store. Buying a smaller container can help prevent tossing curdled milk.
Also, be realistic about what you need in the fridge each week. For instance, are you really going to make that elaborate zucchini galette that you saw in a cooking magazine this week? Maybe you will, but if not wait until you have a discrete chunk of time to create those special dishes.
With Cookidoo® you can plan your meals out weekly and create digital shopping lists, which saves time and paper.
2. Blend It, Baby
Adding veggie and/or fruit scraps to a blender can transform ordinary food waste ingredients into superstars.
Pestos are delicious and versatile. Consider blending up kale stems and wilted arugula with garlic, parmesan, and copious amounts of oil. Carrot peelings can also be blended into a pasta sauce for a quick hit of Vitamin A. When you have copious amounts of watermelon this summer, you can make a super refreshing drink by simply blending the watermelon and think about adding a little fresh ginger for a kick. There are so many possibilities!
3. Repurpose Basic Ingredients
Cooking up a few basic ingredients at the beginning of the week that can be repurposed into multiple meals is another great low-waste trick. Think about steaming a big batch of broccoli in the Thermomix to be used on eggs in the morning, tossed with some pasta, or as a side dish with some salmon and quinoa. Think about hard boiling eggs for egg salad sandwiches, quick snacks on the go, or to add protein to a green salad. Again, there are so many ways to make inventive meals throughout the week with a few key ingredients.
If you’re in need of more ideas, search through thousands of recipes on Cookidoo® for meal inspiration based on the ingredients you have on hand.
4. Opt out of packaging
When shopping in the grocery store, try not to grab one of those plastic produce bags. Your apples and onions don’t need that plastic bag – they’ll be safe in the cart, even if they roll around a bit. Bring your reusable bags and make sure you have glass storage containers at home. There are also great products on the market now, like beeswax “wrap” that can be used to cover dishes, wrap a sandwich, or save half an avocado.
5. Compost It Up
When all is said and done, composting is a great last resort for reducing waste. Check to see if your town or city offers a compost pick-up or check if there is a local company that provides this service. Most food waste is capable of being composted commercially, however, home composting is different. Make sure you read up on what products can go into a home compost versus a commercial operation.