This time of the year, many of us take a look at the scale and resolve to reduce our waistline. What if one way to do that was to take a look at our household waste?
Perhaps surprisingly, less waste can mean a trimmer you. Here are some of the ways we can all shift habits around food and likely see results in the mirror.
Takeout food, while tempting, can be packaging-heavy and include a list of questionable ingredients to boot. Fortunately, there are some cafés and restaurants endeavouring to cut back on unneeded items such as straws, plastic cutlery, extra napkins, double bags and plastic-laden to-go containers.
Interestingly, these tend to have healthier choices on their menus as well. It seems that care for the planet and health often go hand in hand. When eating food on the go, bring your own containers where possible.
When you head out the door to the grocery store, having a list and buying in bulk are effective ways to get healthy and create less waste. Impulse buys are often items in flashy, single-use packaging that allure us with their promise of a sweet or salty treat.
Eating before you shop can help you avoid these tempting, often less than satisfying, spontaneous purchases. Bulk foods are a great option because they are usually whole foods that are better for your body and the earth.
To go a step further, start meal planning for the week. Take a peak in your fridge and freezer to see what you have before you head out to shop. All of us have had food that was pushed to the back of the shelf where it died an ugly death. Instead of this fate, have a shelf area designated for items that are still good but on their way to becoming science experiments. You can call it the “eat me first” shelf.
Ends of root veggies, half used onions and turkey bones often end up here, and are perfect for a winter soup. Shrivelling fruit and yogurt nearing the end of its life can be converted into a yummy smoothie. Oatmeal, the dregs of dried berries in mason jars and the last remains of the butter can all become creative cookies for an after school treat.
When you are not sure where to start, a great free recipe hack is to enter the list of ingredients you want to use up along with the words “best” and “recipe” in an online search. You might just add some new favourites to your list as a result.
For this new year, resolve to shift habits around waste, and you will likely see an overall shift in your wellness.
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.