Think about it – our food delivery system is plastic. Plastic wrap, plastic trays, plastic bottles, plastic tubs, plastic bags. The only way to reduce the amount of waste coming into your kitchen is to cook more.
Yes, cooking requires time. But I’m not advocating for an elaborate meal every night. I have always had a full-time job, so I cook very simply and try to eat a healthy diet—one devoid (ok, with limited amount) of processed food and I plan and prep for the week.
Tips for low-waste cooking:
Meal planning and food prep. Find a couple of cookbooks or blogs that have simple recipes with few ingredients. Anything by Moosewood Kitchen is great. But, honestly, you don't even need a recipe. Saute some vegetables or eat them raw, cook some rice or a potato, add a little cheese or hummus or fruit and you've got yourself a meal. But, and this is key, take an hour or so each week to make a plan, make a list, and wash and cut up all vegetables. Grocery delivery or pick-up is an option. The rest of the week will be a dream.
Shop at farmer's markets, farm stands, bulk stores, and bakeries. Buy items without packaging. You can bring your own containers to @thegreengrocerri to weigh and fill up in their bulk section. Bring your bags to @aquidneck_farms and @simmonsfarmri for veg, cheese, eggs, and meats. It makes a difference.
Cut down on processed food. It is all packaging and most of it isn't healthy. You don't have to cut it out completely…we don't…but I have replaced many of the foods we used to buy in packages by making them myself. (But not you, potato chips🥰 )
Minimize food waste. This is where that plan comes in. Conservative estimates say that 40% of all food in the U.S. is wasted. Food is 20% of the stuff in landfills, and it’s the number one contributor to landfills by weight. When it breaks down, it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas about 30x more potent than CO2. Buy only what is on your list. This will also save you a ton of money. (Again, I'm lookin' at you, potato chips!)
Start small…a couple of days a week or a couple of recipes maybe. Try granola, homemade hummus, or cookies. Your kids will love it…your heart will melt.
Any bags you must bring home…wash and reuse.