Food

Three Changes You Can Make in the Kitchen to Help the Environment

Saving the planet can often feel overwhelming, an arduous legacy which we carry with us, whether we want to or not. But being an eco-warrior does not have to be all-consuming many people partaking in small acts of environmental concern may just be what the world needs. As a student, it is easy not to question the environmental impact of our food- the veg in plastic is cheap, “I am hungry” and “I have an overdraft”! However, there are some swaps which are accessible, easy, and won’t compromise your student budget (or your taste buds!)

Make Plant-Based Switches Where Possible

Choosing alternative dairy products like vegetable or olive margarine instead of butter; oat or soy milk instead of cow’s milk and soy yoghurt (vanilla Alpro is a personal fave) are changes that you will barely notice. The prices are very comparable (head to the long-life section for cheap plant milk) and these alternatives can also be delicious and healthier choices. Importantly they are better for the environment using far less vital resources (such as water or land area) than their dairy counterparts.

Swapping out meat for plant-based protein is also an easy way to incorporate veggie meals into your week – think lentil Bolognese, chickpea curry, bean chilli- these canned goods are extremely affordable and pack a serious protein punch even for student gym-lovers.

Ditch the Plastic!

We’ve all seen the videos, but somehow supermarkets continue to find ways of wrapping just about anything in our environment’s perennial nightmare (also known as plastic). However, some shops are starting to catch up and have lowered the prices of loose produce to encourage planet-friendly shopping. Pick up loose fruit and vegetables like peppers, carrots, bananas, and mushrooms and you can quickly weigh them on the scales for a barcode or the shop assistant can do it for you at the tills.

For ambient products, like cereals and pasta, head to Portland Zero – it’s the on-campus plastic-free store of your dreams! Just remember to keep old jars and bring them with you to fill. Reducing your consumption of fish is also important, as nearly half of the ocean’s plastic is actually made up of fishing nets, not consumer plastics.

Save on Food Waste- Plan your Meals!

 Planning your meals for the week can be done in a few minutes and is an easy way to prevent unused food from ending up in the bin- a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. You can keep a list of ingredients on your phone notes and it will prevent you from picking up products you won’t get through or never actually use. It also makes cooking far less stressful if you know what’s on the menu – no more late-night runs to the kebab shop because all you’ve got left is a mouldy loaf of bread. On bread a top tip is to keep bread, bagels, etc., in the freezer- you can toast it straight from frozen and they will last indefinitely (or three to six months if you want to be specific)! Sharing meals with flatmates, freezing extra portions for future use, and meal-prepping lunches and dinners are also great ways to avoid any necessary waste.

Lois Freeman

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

 https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/latest-news/marine-debris-plastic-fishing-gear/#:~:text=Approximately%2046%25%20of%20the%2079,to%20be%20closer%20to%2020%25 .

 https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/fight-climate-change-by-preventing-food-waste#:~:text=Today%2C%20an%20estimated%20one%2Dthird,the%20world%20goes%20to%20waste.&text=And%20if%20food%20goes%20to,if%20we%20stop%20wasting%20food .

https://www.thekitchn.com/the-best-way-to-freeze-and-thaw-bread-246477

Feature image courtesy of Markus Spiske via Flickr. Image license here.

Aricle image 1 and 2 courtesy of Alice Nott

Article image 3 courtesy of Ella Olsson via Flickr. Image license here.

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