Reduce your diet’s impact on the planet by adopting eco-friendly dining this week or all year. Even adopting one day a week of planet-friendly eating can make a huge impact.
MONDAY: Meatless/Vegan Monday
During WWI, the government encouraged Americans to reduce their intake of staple foods to aid the war effort—in part by adopting Meatless Monday and Wheatless Wednesday. Though those days were left behind after the war, climate activists have also pushed for people to eat meat-free at least one day per week, because of a study by think tank Worldwatch stating that the UN has vastly under-estimated the impact of animals, and that 50 percent of all greenhouse gases come from meat, dairy, and egg farming.
Ideas for vegetarian dinner:
- Peppers stuffed with rice and organic meatless soy “beef” or “chicken.” To make it vegan, forgo cheese topping and use salsa, vegan cheese, or olive tapenade instead.
- Tex-mex veggie bowl: Add rice, beans, sautéed veggies, guacamole, and salsa to a bowl in whatever proportions make you happy. Enjoy a tortilla on the side, or sprinkle tortilla chips on top.
TUESDAY: Reconsider Your Meal Kit
Do you get mail-order meal kits from companies like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh? The insulated boxes include enough portioned and prepped ingredients to quickly whip up a meal for two or four.
With these boxes, you don’t need to shop or plan and there often isn’t much food waste at meal-time. But the ingredients are often wrapped in lots of plastic. We dug deep in our article “Are Meal Kits Recipes for Fun, or Waste?” and determined a good/better/best of all the plans we could find, including organic meal-kit options.
Idea for meal kit dinner: Meal kit companies often post fun recipes online for free, so you can save money by buying the ingredients yourself.
- From Whole Foods meal plan service: Layered vegetable enchiladas.
- Find recipes from Blue Apron: blueapron.com/pages/sample-recipes/.
WEDNESDAY: Try Local Flavors
Ever heard the term “locavore,” meaning someone who eats local food? It’s not possible for all foods all the time, but there are great benefits to eating local when you can:
- Taste: local food might taste better because it was picked at its peak, instead of months earlier, like produce you find at the grocery store.
- Climate impact: It travels less of a distance to get to you, which lowers your carbon footprint.
- Supporting local economies: Buying local keeps money circulating in your local economy. Plus, knowing the farmers means you can ask questions about how your food was grown and engage in conversations about important topics, like how regenerative agriculture helps soil health and fights climate change.
Incorporate local food by finding a farmers’ market in your area or joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which delivers boxes of local food to your door or an easily accessible location every week. Find a CSA or market at localharvest.org.