Honestly, even as a registered dietitian I didn’t feel that knowledgeable about our food choices and the planet when I started this challenge. I figured that this means that I’m not the only one so decided to share what I learned so far in this blog post.
The first step in my journey was to watch this 15-minute Ted Talk about how to make sustainable food choices at the grocery store:
Frank talked a lot about food waste which is huge. About 58% of food is wasted in Canada. That’s so much food! That food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
I then met with Mareike from Fork Ranger to talk about the small food choices we can make to have a big impact. She shared interesting facts like choosing chicken over beef to really make a difference. After chatting with Mareike, it really helped me connect the dots. We eat many times a day and the choices we make about food have more of an impact than I realized.
I came across a post from Fork Ranger that talked about how so many people waste bread and don’t eat the ends of their loaves of bread. Here are some ways to not waste bread:
- Store bread in the freezer at all times and take a piece out only when you are about to eat it
- Eat the ends of the loaves of bread
- If you don’t want to eat the ends, put the bread in soups as croutons or add pieces of bread onto dishes cooked in the oven
Then I came across a post by Fork Ranger that asked: What saves more emissions?
A) 1 person who eats vegan
B) 2 people who eat vegetarian
C) 3 people who replace beef with pork and chicken
The right answer is C. It comes back to talking about small choices we make with other people, for them to make their own small choices. That’s how we impact more people and make a bigger difference in our carbon footprint. This is what the challenge is all about!
Again, something that can make the biggest impact is NOT WASTING FOOD.
Food waste = more food in landfills = more methane gas = more pollution
What is expensive is not the food we buy but the food we waste. And the food we throw out the most are fruit and vegetables.
Here is how I store my fruit and vegetables to minimize waste:
- Store fruits and veggies separately in the fridge as some fruits release ethylene gas that can spoil vegetables
- Don’t wash your produce until right before you eat them
- Store garlic, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash in a cool, dry and dark place
- Keep onions away from other vegetables as onions release a gas that can spoil other produce
- Carrots, beets: Remove the tops and store them separately in sealed bags
- Leafy greens – Wash, dry and store in a sealed bag with a paper towel
Something that has a medium impact is eating more nuts and legumes because those foods don’t have a big carbon footprint.
Want to eat more legumes? Watch me make my belgula lentil salad!
Legumes like lentils have a very small carbon footprint. I figured I’d share my recipe that uses beluga lentils to give you some inspiration to eat more legumes. I’ve been making this salad for months now and it’s soooo good.
A great way to eat for the planet!
Here is the recipe:
Beluga lentil salad
2 green onions
7 cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked beluga lentils
1/2 cup feta cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Salt & pepper
Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy! This salad can be modified according to what you have in your fridge. Enjoy!
This dish can be brought to family holiday dinners or eaten as part of meals in between holiday dinners.
Moving forward as a family, we plan to waste less food, eat the ends of our bread, store our food properly, eat less beef and more lentils. What’s more? We plan to continue talking about this topic with our friends and family. That is what will make the most difference!