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10 Ways To Be A More Sustainable Cook

10 Ways To Be A More Sustainable Cook

Yes, conscious cooking is now a thing! Not sure what that even means? Read on! Here’s how to be a more sustainable cook
By Chere Di Boscio
We do it every day. But very few of us actually think about how sustainable it is to cook good food.
And that’s kind of strange, because there’s actually so much to think about! From the source of our food and its carbon footprint, to how we are cooking and storing food, every step can make a difference between being a conscious cook, or a wasteful one.

Even the way we tidy up can be more sustainable, if you think about it!

I know it’s a lot to ponder. But if you’re not sure where to get started, keep reading for practical habits you can easily integrate into your cooking process.

10 Habits For More Conscious Cooking

10 Ways To Be A More Sustainable Cook

1. Keep It Vegan

My first tip for being a more sustainable cook is going vegan. It should be evident to everyone by now that a vegan diet is undoubtedly better for the planet, better for your health, and of course, way better for animals! There are plenty of great recipes you can make: from vegan burgers, tacos and pizza to even vegan sushi rolls. So there’s really no excuse not to go plant based! Or at least make one meal a day vegan, then increase it to one full day…you’ll see, it’s easier than you think!

2. Think About The Carbon Footprint

As well as preparing vegan food, preparing locally sourced food will help you be a more sustainable cook. Mainly because it will seriously reduce your carbon footprint. But it will also be better for your health! That’s because the shorter the route produce has to land on your table, the more nutrients it retains.

The best thing you could do to be a mindful chef? Grow your own! Even if you have zero garden space, it’s not hard to grow herbs, tomatoes and lettuce in pots indoors.

3. Don’t Forget To Compost

Speaking of produce, keep it mind it’s wonderful for making compost! Not got room in the garden for a bin? No worries! Just keep a small compost bin on your kitchen countertop. As you cook, collect food scraps (like fruit and vegetable peels and even eggshells) and toss them into your bin instead of the trash. These scraps can be easily composted to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden or houseplants. Learn how here.

4. Use Everything Up

As you prepare your ingredients, make an effort to be a more sustainable cook by using every bit up. For example, when peeling veggies, make sure you clean the skins well and either compost them, or chop them up to make them into a soup broth later. For fruit, did you know you can make a nutrient-rich and bug-repelling banana peel tea by soaking 2 banana peels in a mason jar filled with water for at least one week? You can also transform coffee grounds into beauty products!

5. Try To Reduce Water Waste

Cooking often involves using water, and there are ways to minimise water waste. For example, washing dishes by hand (instead of using a dishwasher) uses way less water. If, that is, you fill up the sink instead of keep the water running. You can also use a bowl to wash vegetables and then reuse that water for watering plants, for instance.

6. Use The Lid

When cooking on the stovetop, remember to be more sustainable cook there, too. It’s easy: just cover your pots and pans with lids. This saves loads of energy by trapping heat. It also reduces cooking time, yay!

7. Keep An Eye On Energy

Speaking of energy reductions, be sure you’re keeping an eye on what you’re cooking. Don’t just put the stove on high and boil water for 10 mins before you realise, yes, I can put the pasta in the water now! Be mindful of what’s going on top of the stove.

In addition, be sure to use the smallest burner that fits your pot. Why? Well, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, putting a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the heat produced by the burner. Yipes!

8. Buy Natural Stuff For The Kitchen

Paper towels? No thanks! Use reusable, washable cloths instead. You’ll save tons of paper over time! As for dish soap, make sure it’s fully biological and eco friendly. Instead of plastic sponges, consider buying loofahs or natural bristle brushes to wash your dishes. Also, avoid plastic wrap and buy coated paper or waxed paper wrap instead.

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9. Save It

Got leftovers? To be a more sustainable cook, be sure to freeze them, or pop them in the fridge for tomorrow. Save them in glass ‘tupperware’ instead of plastic containers to avoid toxins from entering your food. Think there’s just no way you’ll be able to eat all that stuff, even if you put it in the freezer? Compost it, or even consider whether the dog can eat it.

10. Think About Going Raw

As with going vegan, going raw is great for your health, animals and the planet. And it’s probably not what you think! For example, a food is considered to be ‘raw’ if it has never been:

  • heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C)
  • refined
  • pasteurised
  • treated with pesticides
  • otherwise processed in any way

So yes, raw food CAN be warm. Even hot! So it’s ok for winter. What this ultimately means is: less energy is used for cooking, refining and treating food. Which means a raw food diet is another great way to shift towards more conscious cooking!

Get some great raw recipe ideas here.

What have you done to become a more sustainable cook? Let us know in the comments, below!

Chere Di Boscio
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