Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
Master mindful eating with these 15 eco-friendly recipes. Did you know, your kitchen accounts for a third of your home’s energy use? And much of that is due to cooking. As a mom and avid foodie, I spend most of my time in the kitchen; cooking meals and testing recipes, prepping snacks, clearing up and the list goes on. With so much time spent in the heart of our home, it’s a great opportunity to ponder on how we, as a family, can become more eco-friendly.
Taking care of the planet doesn’t have to mean becoming vegan or growing your own vegetable garden. There are simple steps you can take to make your meals more environmentally-friendly.
If Earth Day is inspiring you to take action to better care for the planet, discover 15 nutritious and mouthwatering recipes that are eco-friendly – to help you practice mindful eating.
Eating more pulses, like beans, is a powerful way to take care of the environment. Pulses are a low carbon footprint food, meaning that farmers need to add little or no nitrogen fertilizer. What’s more, pulses use ½ to ⅓ of the amount of water that it takes to produce other sources of protein.
I buy frozen fruits (as much as possible) to prevent food wastage, which can help save landfill space and the energy required to grow, transport and sell food.
Not only is this recipe perfect as a meatless Monday meal, it’s all done in one pan for easy prep and cleanup – using less water! According to Friends of the Earth, the average household uses 150 litres of water everyday – to wash, cook and clean. You’ll certainly be saving heaps of water cooking this recipe!
By eating less meat, you’re helping to slash water usage drastically because taking care of animals for meat and dairy is incredibly water-intensive.
Like beans, lentils are pulses, that support soil health by feeding microorganisms in the earth. This benefits other crops that grow in rotation with pulses.
Cut food wastage and save money by using over-ripened food, such as bananas in baking.
Can you believe it’s made from leftovers? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food wastage is the number one material sent to landfills and incinerators, which is more than plastic and metal combined. The EPA encourage us to use leftovers and compost because “Decomposing food in landfills emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes climate change.”
Did you know the water footprint of cow’s milk is more than three times that of soy milk -1,050 liters compared to 297 liters according to a dutch study, published in 2012? Replacing cow’s milk with soy milk would not only be a wise choice for water preservation, it’s also a positive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cooking in bulk is a great way to be more eco-friendly. I double (even treble) this recipe and freeze it to reduce water and energy usage in my kitchen.
To boost your gut health and reduce the need for stovetop or oven energy, incorporate some raw foods into your diet. For something a little different, try my DIY Lacto-Fermented Mixed Vegetables recipe, to give your body some much-needed probiotics.
Traditionally pilau is made with Basmati rice, which requires a lot of fossil fuels in getting to your plate. It’s a type of long grain rice, the husk of which is removed, and then it goes through a second stage of processing to polish it. This Quilau is certainly a eco-friendly option.
We make the effort to buy seasonal local produce, such as pumpkins. Food that’s travelled across the world to get to your plate has a much higher impact on the environment; more energy needed to transport, refrigerate and store, as well as more packaging to ensure its freshness.
Cutting your food in smaller pieces – as a strategy to reduce cooking time, is a good way to minimize energy usage in your kitchen. What’s more, you’ll save on time and bills and manage to feed your hungry family a lot faster.
Being a “rainfed” crop, chickpeas don’t require significant amounts of water, and like other legumes, they enhance soil health by fixing nitrogen. This can favor crop rotation; meaning a more sustainable model of agriculture.
I used The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) salmon fillets to create this recipe. Using the MSC blue fish label, gives me peace of mind, that the seafood I enjoy is certified wild, sustainable and can be traced back to the fishery they came from – a good choice for me and the oceans too! You can learn more about mindful eating and sustainable choices in my recent Huffpost article. This sheet pan wonder is by far the easiest fish recipe you’ll ever make. It’s flaky, juicy, tangy and you won’t believe how incredible it tastes.
What are some of your best tips for eco-friendly cooking? Have you tried any of these recipes? How do you practice mindful eating? Share with me in the comments below.
If you try these recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate them, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
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Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she’s dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.