If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, the kitchen is a great place to start. Especially considering that more than one-third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from our food systems. Here are seven easy ways to eat well while treading a little gentler on the planet.
- Buy local and shop at the farmers’ market. Cut down on the miles that your food travels by supporting local farmers and buying ingredients that are grown close to where you live. Skip the waxed apples and pesticide-sprayed berries, and enjoy peak-season produce instead.
- Compost food scraps. Keep a bowl or paper bag on the kitchen counter to collect lemon rinds, potato skins, and banana peels for composting. You’ll help keep food waste out of landfills, where it takes up valuable space and releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. If you don’t have a home compost bin or live in an area that supports commercial composting, consider freezing your scraps and then dropping them off at a community garden or composting site.
- Cut back on meat and dairy. You don’t have to go cold turkey on animal products to have an impact on the environment. Even cutting back a small amount on meat and eating lower on the food chain overall can significantly reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions.
- Embrace root to stalk cooking. Think twice before tossing out cauliflower leaves, carrot tops, celery leaves, and chard stems. Many parts of vegetables that we generally throw away are not just edible but delicious.
- Repurpose leftovers. Don’t forget the doggy bag. Or better yet bring containers from home to pack any leftovers when you dine out. Use leftover rice to make a bean and veggie-packed burger. Combine last night’s pasta with eggs to make a frittata.
- Reuse plastic bags. As much as I always try to take my reusable bags to the market, I seem to always end up with more of those one-use plastic bags. But instead of discarding them, keep them around to use as wrap herbs to store in the fridge, use trash can liners, and wrap shoes when traveling.
- Turn used coffee grounds into a body scrub. Once your morning coffee grounds have dried out, combine them with coconut oil and sugar to make an exfoliating scrub. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Priyanka Naikis a self-taught celebrity chef, Food Network champion, cookbook author, leading authority in plant-based cooking, and now a Territory collaborator.Try Priyanka Naik’s Territory exclusive meal, inspired by a recipe from her cookbook,The Modern Tiffin.