Food-Wise Ways To Save Money And The Planet

by | May 24, 2021, 18:28 IST

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Save money and the planet by tweaking your palate. Start today; it really isn’t as difficult as it sounds

Are you looking to curtail your expenditure on food, and save the environment as well in the process? Seems like a bizarre combination, but there’s a definite link between the two. We’ve curated a list of tips that will help you not exceed your budget, and help you alter your palate for the planet. Saving money and being eco-friendly are a function of the sensible use of the food we do buy, and a few simple tweaks.

Shop Right

It always makes sense to visit a store, or to shop online with a shopping list in hand. This shopping list must be linked to the menu plan you have for the next few days, so that you only buy what you will use, and use what you buy.

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag

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Not what you thought, we know. However, this is a fundamental one: don’t purchase plastic bags from your local groceries - carry a reusable one instead. Our landfills are stretched to the seams with plastic. Integrate a cloth or paper bag into your shopping routine, and, soon, carrying one will become a habit.

Go For  Products With Minimal Packaging For Lighter Impact

Apart from BYOB-ing, try filtering out products with unnecessary packaging. We’re sure you’ve seen pictures of peeled oranges or bananas packaged in a container in some aisle in a supermarket. If you’re choosing to buy these items, you’re contributing to our brimming landfills. Buy unwrapped produce instead. 

Store Right: Use Your Refrigerator Well 

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Sure, your refrigerator is sectioned, arranged, and packaged perfectly. It’s nice to admire; but that’s it. It’s time to maximise its utility, and slide your food into designated spaces. Since temperatures around the top shelf are regulated, it is recommended for the storage of dairy-based products. You can place the rest of your ready-to-eat foods, as well as eggs, in the middle shelf; this includes leftovers, butter, cooked meat, and other pre-packaged items. You need to store your fruits, salads, and vegetables in a separate crate at the bottom. Ensure they’re wrapped in paper to prevent contamination, with a few air holes. In this way, you’re enhancing the longevity of each of your products. Watch how your veggies remain intact for a longer duration. 

Acknowledge The Onion-Potato Phenomenon 

Well, they’re exceptions. Don’t wedge them into a chilly recess of your fridge; They’re meant to be stored outside. Onions require ventilation, so place them on the countertop. Nudge your potatoes into a cool cupboard in a paper bag with air holes. And don’t commit the error of storing the two in proximity to one another since they produce gases that hasten their ripening, and cause them to spoil quickly. 

Work With The Seasons

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It’s important to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’re cheaper, tastier, and nutritionally denser. Apart from the obvious, seasonal produce is exclusive to your region. It doesn’t go through the carbon-intensive supply chain if you decide to source it locally. 

It’s ideal to grow your own produce if space permits. Visualise picking your own mangoes from your backyard. They are sure to taste sweeter!. Plus, you’re reducing your carbon footprint by not having to travel to the store. But, if you’d rather buy fruits or vegetables, source them locally. That way, you will not be investing in produce that has been trucked to you from another city, and, by consequence, saving on the transport-generated energy. And you’re supporting your local economy. It doesn’t get better than that.

Vote ‘Frozen’ At Least Sometimes!

Don’t regard the word ‘frozen’ with suspicion. We can almost see you furrowing your eyebrows. Haven’t you read our article on frozen produce? Here’s what you need to know! Frozen veggies can be just as nutritious as fresh ones, and they’re often cheaper! They can also survive for longer periods of time. So, you can save out on costs, reduce wastage, and savour a delectable veggie-loaded barbeque without compromising on taste - or quality.

Cook Once

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If you prepare your food in large batches, you can eat meals without having to cook each time. Think about it. Your evenings are free of toiling in the dreaded, heat-laden kitchen against the backdrop of soaring temperatures. You’ll be saving time, reserving your energy, and indulging in environmental-friendly habits by powering your appliances just once through the day. Place extra portions of food in the freezer, well labelled, and defrost in the refrigerator for a few hours before you must heat them again. 

Label To Avoid Food Spoilage And Wastage

In fact, label all of your products by date. If you boldly indicate its expiry date in case of a packaged item, or mention a ‘deadline’ for leftovers, you will be constantly reminded of what you’re supposed to consume before it starts to rot. In this way, you’re minimising wastage, and adopting an eco-friendly habit. If wastage is imminent, recycle your food. Turn it into compost for your garden. 

Cut Down On Ultra-Processed Foods

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Ultra-processed foods account for disproportionate levels of sodium, sugar, preservatives, sweeteners, and fats. These can include chips, candy, pizza, pre-made desserts, fries, ice creams, chicken nuggets, soft drinks, and other processed meats. Apart from damaging your health, their production, transportation, and consumption contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. It’s time to stop gorging on these products, and reinvent our platters. 

Also See: Easy Ways To Go With Your Gut

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