These 12 Eco Friendly Kitchen tips are simple enough that you can start today. Even small changes can make a big impact over time!
Did you know that in addition to being gluten-free, Prep Dish weekly meal plans utilize seasonal ingredients? In honor of Earth Day, here's a list of steps I take for environmentally-friendly cooking.
Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips
1. Purchase local foods
When available (this includes produce, meats, dairy, pantry & specialty items), choose local.
2. Prep food in batches
Prepping in batches, rather than prepping every item as you need it, makes for more efficient use of ovens. (Prep Dish plans refer to this as a “Prep Day”.)
3. Meal Plan
The best way to avoid food waste is to have a plan before heading to the grocery store. No time to plan meals? Let Prep Dish do the work for you with our grocery lists and prep instructions. We organize so you don't have to!
Boiling potatoes or pasta? Stick a steamer (or metal colander) on top to steam snap peas, green beans, or other veggies.
One note of caution: beet coloring is powerful. Avoid steaming beets atop or alongside white veggies like cauliflower or potatoes. Unless you want to eat pink mashed cauliflower… it may be no big deal, but I found out I cannot eat my mash pink!
5. Use the food you buy
Prep Dish plans are designed to use all of the perishable food you purchase in that week's menu. This is a huge cost savings over time, as well as a great practice for an eco friendly kitchen!
6. Grow your own
Start with herbs, I find mint to be the hardest to kill :). Also experiment with veggies, like tomatoes & lettuces. Citrus trees for fresh limes & lemons also come in handy!
This one may seem a bit obvious but make sure you understand the recycling guidelines in your area to ensure your recycling can actually be recycled.
8. Use the whole food
All Prep Dish menus are carefully crafted so that any produce purchased is used in it's entirety. For example, in one meal plan, the stems from sautéed swiss chard are chopped and used in a veggie chili. Leftover spinach from a pesto is thrown into a mango smoothie. In general, smoothies are a great way to utilize over-ripe fruit & veggie scraps.
9. Eat leftovers
One reason our meal plans only include four dinners each week is to give you a chance to eat any leftovers. I find that if I plan seven dinners in a given week, it's difficult to avoid food waste. Remember, many leftovers like soups, chili and lasagna, freeze really well too!
10. Use reusable containers
While a bit of an investment up front, these are so much more eco friendly than plastic baggies and save money over time.
Paired with these reusable labels.
I love this combo so much that I purchase a set of containers & labels for all of my personal chef clients. Proper containers help keep meals fresh. And the re-usable labels use any size permanent markers and easily wipe clean.
11. Use reusable shopping bags
Here in Austin, stores no longer give the option of using plastic bags!
12. Watch out for packaging
Try to buy foods with as little packaging as possible. Many of the foods on the Prep Dish grocery list can be bought as-is with no package (think onions, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, etc). No need to place produce in separate plastic bags. Either bring your own produce bag(s) or use no bag at all, just wash produce well once at home.
Want more Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips?
How sustainable is your cooking? Any of the above you could add into your routine? I want to hear from you! Leave comments, below.