A great way to make more sustainable food choices is to make incremental changes over time instead of a one-time overhaul. Here are some tips for adding more plants into your diet as well as ways to save money on your food bill. Remember, don’t think this is an all or nothing journey. Start with small changes and do more when you are ready.
Cook at home
You can save money and cut down on food waste by making meals at home. Many people love prepping whole meals while others take the approach of bulk making staple ingredients like garlic, onions and grains once a week to keep the ingredients handy for varying meals throughout the week. Take one hour out of your weekend to prepare meals for the upcoming week. Instead of buying granola, try making it yourself with your favorite nuts, seeds and favorite whole grains. If you have fruit that’s going bad, freeze it for smoothies. Don’t forget you can use food you already have to create new meals. The SuperCook app is great in helping make sure you use up all those miscellaneous things you have laying around. If you’re new to cooking or are looking to sharpen your skills, check out Ralphie’s Cooking Basics to learn more about cooking. This series of ongoing cooking events focuses on a particular meal each session. Register now to learn how to perfect your favorite meals.
Having a plan for meals you will make in a week helps keep your budget in check as well as reducing food waste. Make a list of food you have in your kitchen, then buy food that completes those ingredients. There are also plenty of lists and apps out there to assist you in making a plan. If you’re interested in changing up your diet, meet with Nutrition Services for a free consultation.
Try Meatless Mondays
Try a new plant-based alternative on every other trip to the grocery store. Your food bill can be greatly reduced by adopting a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet. Switching to a plant rich diet might seem intimidating but try making one day of your week plant-based. Be adventurous the next time you visit a dining center, which all provide a variety of plant-based meals. Dining centers also have dairy alternatives. Even the beef burgers served on campus are a beef/mushroom blend.Try using Nutrislice to filter campus menus for vegan and vegetarian options.
Shop the perimeter of the store
Some of the cheapest groceries are along the perimeter of the store. This includes rice, beans, bananas, carrots, onions and potatoes. Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are least expensive when they are in season. Most stores also have a section where you can find discounted produce that is reaching the end of shelf life but still fully edible. If you find a good deal and have room in your budget, consider buying extra and freeze what you don’t need right away to use later.
Get curious and have some fun experimenting with new ingredients and recipes while saving money and reducing your environmental impact. Even one day a week of plant-based meals has an impact!
If you’re interested in food sustainability, attend the Food Pathways event March 8-10.