Every April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. With climate change and global warming, taking care of our planet is more important now than ever before. Our eating habits play a big part in our impact on the environment. In the United States alone, $162 billion dollars worth of food is wasted every year.
Because we’re so passionate about food here at Luvo, we’d like to offer some suggestions for how you can celebrate Earth Day and take care of the planet by being more mindful about what you eat. Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Plan your meals in advance
When you grocery shop strategically, you are much less likely to impulse-buy items you may never end up using. How many times have you come home with a fistful of kale and good intentions, and then let it go limp in the fridge? It’s easy to prevent produce spoiling in your fridge when you head to the grocery store with your week’s meal plan in mind.
2. Eat locally and seasonally
Eating produce that’s in season and grown in your region is great for the environment. Most foods travel long distances from their farm to your home, meaning your fresh orange can have a pretty significant carbon footprint. Learn to love what’s in season in your area, and plan your cooking around it. Read what is in season in April here, or take a trip to your local farmer’s market and ask which crops are coming up soon.
3. Learn to love “ugly” food
When we visit the grocery store, we often look for the most aesthetically pleasing fruits and vegetables to add to our cart. Why is that? While it’s important to inspect produce for signs of damage or spoilage, the way produce looks doesn’t have any bearing on its taste. Some grocery stores will even have discounts on their less beautiful produce. Take a look at our list of ways to learn to love ugly fruits and veggies.
4. Extend the life of your food
Have you ever carefully examined a veggie, unsure if it has spoiled or not? Sometimes it can be difficult to tell. With packaged foods, expiration dates can be helpful, but they don’t always tell the whole story. Take a look at our guide to food expiration dates for a refresher on the lifespan of items in your fridge.
You can extend the life of items in your fridge by freezing them instead. Freezing food helps to prevent unnecessary food waste because frozen food won’t spoil as quickly as refrigerated food. Freezing is essentially nature’s pause button, preserving food at its optimal nutrition and flavor. Frozen is just as nutritious and flavorful as fresh food, you simply need to know the right way to freeze. Be sure to still use items in your freezer within a timely manner to enjoy the best taste and texture. Not sure how long it will last in the freezer? Take a look at our primer for frozen food lifespans.
5. Try whole plant protein
Plant proteins are nutritious, delicious, and good for the environment. Plants require less terrain to farm than animals do, making them a more environmentally conscious protein source than most animal proteins. That’s not to say you need to go fully vegan to begin making better choices for the environment. Here are some ways you can adopt a flexitarian diet by introducing more plant proteins into your meal plans.
6. Start composting
Check with your local municipality to see if your region has a compost program in action. If not, it is relatively easy to begin composting in your own back yard. All of your food scraps can be placed in a compost bin to be turned into food for your garden, rather than contributing to landfills. Even some paper products like tissues and napkins can be composted. You might be surprised by how little garbage you take out once you begin composting at home!
Hate the smell of compost? Try keeping a small compost bin in your freezer. The act of freezing delays decay and kills the smell, allowing you to transport your kitchen bin to the outdoor bin with minimal odor.
7. Reduce your reliance on plastic
Most of us aren’t aware of how much we rely on plastic, particularly when it comes to food. You can begin to cut back on your plastic waste by carrying utensils from home when you eat lunch at work, bringing reusable grocery bags, and switching to glass containers instead of plastic food storage. That’s not to say you should throw out all your plastics and switch to glass. The best way to reduce waste is to use what you already have, and then replace it with more sustainable options when the item reaches the end of its lifespan.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Earth Day? We’d love to hear about your environmental tips and tricks in the comments.
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