You don’t have to overhaul your kitchen or your life to lower your carbon footprint this holiday season. By incorporating a few easy tweaks, you can be even more Eco-conscious and help save the planet while still enjoying your favorite holiday meals.
1. Check which foods are most important to each guest. If no one likes or eats green bean casserole, don’t make it.
2. Purchase as many items from the bulk bin as possible to decrease the amount of packaging waste. Remember to bring your own reusable bags for shopping as well.
3. Consider ways to use the oven’s energy most efficiently. If toasting nuts, cook as many as will fit on a baking sheet in a single layer and then freeze the leftovers for up to six months in an airtight container. Having a small meal? Cook an extra whole chicken and freeze for future use.
4. Cook only what you need for the meal, for freezing future meals, and some leftovers. Unless you’re feeding an army, don’t cook for one. For each person, plan one pound of turkey, three Tablespoons cranberry relish, ½ cup vegetable, and ½ cup stuffing.
5. On the stove, stainless steel conducts heat the best. Choose a pot that covers the entire burner or lower the flame to fit the pot size. In the oven, glass and ceramic baking dishes conduct heat quicker than metal ones allowing the temperature to be reduced by up to 25 degrees with no change in cooking time. Using a convection oven decreases energy usage even further.
6. Leave the peel on your fruits and vegetables. You’ll be eating more vitamins and minerals while creating less trash. Purchase organic whenever possible and thoroughly wash before using.
7. If you’re having a large crowd, purchase single-use bamboo plates. Unlike paper plates, they are fully biodegradable within 4-6 months after disposal. Bamboo grows quickly and is sustainable. Plus no water waste with dishes.
8. Use the leftover carcass to make stock. After removing most of the meat, put the carcass in a stockpot with about four inches of water, chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, one bay leaf, two Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and simmer for six to eight hours. Strain and save stock in refrigerator or freezer.
The point is that you can figure out what food to include in your healthy eating plan in a way that still helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight this coming holiday season.
Being constantly healthy in your eating choices is the solution. Better eating habits can be achieved by making the same healthy choices over time. You’ll help yourself by thinking more positively and focusing on what you can have instead of what you can’t.