You do not need to be a great chef to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of home cooking. Of course, prepared foods have convenience going for them, but they are usually more expensive and can be unhealthy since they frequently come loaded with salt and preservatives.
Preparing food at home is not as hard you think. Chef Laura Stec, who wrote the environmental cookbook Cool Cuisine, teaches novice cooks to pair fresh food with simple seasonings to create delicious meals. She also recommends a plant-based diet and to use meat as an accent for cheap and hearty, grain-based dishes. You should give home-cooking a try. Start with lunch. Make yourself a fresh sandwich or use some of your leftovers from other meals. If you bring a lunch made from leftovers to work, you may be able to save over $100 a month. You will also be making a huge impact on the planet.
Did you know that each time you have a plant-based lunch like a PB&J sandwich you will reduce our carbon footprint by the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over an average animal based lunch such as a hamburger or a tuna sandwich. You will also help eliminate the 3.5 billion pounds of lunchbox garbage generated every year by greening up your lunch as well as your family’s. Not only will it reduce your impact, it will save you some cash.
In addition, by bringing your lunch to work, you will eliminate a round trip in your car. This has another major impact on the environment. Every gallon of gas used equals 24 pounds of global warming causing emissions. That kind of pollution adds up fast. Each year the average car sends six tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – about three times the average vehicle’s weight.
So take a look at what you are eating now and see if you can introduce some fresher options. It’s easy, and your health and well-being should improve, not to mention your cash flow. Next week, we will look at plants and vegetables you can grow at home.