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3 things you can do TODAY to eat more sustainably

This month in my sustainable living hub A Make Do and Mend Year, we’re looking at food, and how we can take steps to eat more sustainably.
Food is a complex issue and has a huge impact environmentally.
But we all need to eat, so it’s an area that we can all take action on. And the good news is that lots of these things are simple and easy.

Here’s three simple, impactful changes you can implement TODAY!

1. Plan your meals

If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter after America and China.
That is bonkers. And although as individuals we can’t do a huge amount to impact on the policies of the big supermarkets, or change the way our food system works, one thing we CAN do is ensure that we aren’t contributing to the problem.
Meal planning sounds like total dullsville I know, but it really is a great way to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and thrown away.
My meal plans are very much ‘back of the envelope’ scribbles, so relive me when I say it doesn’t have to take hours of poring over recipe books.
Think about your week and what you have on – I know that Wednesdays are our busy night with everyone doing different things, so I tend to soup in the slow cooker in the winter, or something like a rice salad in the summer.

Our meal plan tends to go something like this:
Sunday – some kind of roast
Monday – bubble and squeak with eggs
Tuesday – meat leftovers made into a pastie, or a pie
Wednesday – soup in the slow cooker
Thursday – variations on quiche/frittata using up whatever is hanging around in the fridge
Friday – some kind of pasta dish, often with a simple homemade tomato sauce (make double and freeze it ready for next time!)
Saturday – homemade pizzas/hot dogs

It’s nothing especially fancy, but it helps me to make best use of the food we have, and the time I have available!


2. Take the Meat Free Monday pledge

Meat has the largest carbon and water footprint of all forms of protein.
But the good news for ardent meat eaters is that you don’t have to abstain completely in order to have an impact – according to research published by Oxford University, shifting from a diet high in animal products (100g/day) to a diet low in animal products (50g/day) reduces your carbon footprint each year by the equivalent of a return flight form London to New York!
One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of eat we are eating is to take part in Meat Free Monday – which kind of does what it says on the tin – for one day a week (it doesn’t have to be Monday, but Meat Free Monday slips off the tongue a little easier than Meat Free Wednesday), you eat a meat free diet. Simples!


3. Swap out one thing you buy pre-prepared and have a go at making it from scratch

Pre-prepared foods inevitably come with much more packaging (often plastic and un-recyclable) to dispose of, and you have no control over the origin or quality of the ingredients.
Why not have a go at bread, pasta sauce (see below for the easiest recipe ever!), biscuits or pastry?

Tomato sauce for pasta
Heat 2-3 tbsps rapeseed oil (you should be able to find a local rapeseed producer if you are in the UK) in a frying pan, then grate or crush one clue of garlic and fry it for a minute or so until you can smell it starting to cook.
Then add 2 tins of organic chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of sugar and a good shake of worcestshire sauce.
Ideally cook low and slow for about 40-50mins giving it a stir periodically, or if you’re in a rush, just give it 15 mins on a medium heat.
This freezes well and also acts as a great base for pizzas too.


So what will you do this week?
Do leave a comment below to let me know!

If you’ve loved this tips, you might be interested in my Sustainable Living Hub, A Make Do and Mend Year – I’d love you to come and join us! You can find out more here 🙂

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3 Comments

  • Reply Carolyn March 11, 2018 at 8:22 am

    One thing I do is a weekly clean out of the fridge. This means that I use up all leftovers as well as fruits and vegetables each weekend. I need to cut up and freeze some of the bananas in the fruit basket for instance because we won’t be able to eat them all before they get too ripe. Much less food waste since I started doing this. Also, I try to see what’s lurking in the cabinets that’s been around awhile and use that up, too. One other thing is to make a meal plan according to what’s on hand so I’m using up things before buying more. I need to get back to meal planning instead of making everything off the cuff. I love that you have a set weekly plan. I think that would be a huge help. I have fibro so having a set plan would make it easier to keep things on hand and make ahead so hubby doesn’t have to pick up take out if I’m having a bad day.

  • Reply Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul February 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve been trying to incorporate at least one meat free meal a week into our plan. Although the other half isn’t too keen on the idea.
    I definitely agree with you that making meals from scratch produces far less waste and much better for you too.

  • Reply Sue Rowe February 4, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks Jen ,i already meal plan and try to make what I can from scratch that’s how I was taught by my mum many moons ago,going to start the meat free day once a week. Husband not to keen but for once willing to give it ago. Sue

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