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Earth911 is honoring the 52 years of Earth Day with 52 Actions for the Earth. Each week by way of Earth Day 2023, we are going to share an motion you’ll be able to take to invest in the Earth and make your personal life extra sustainable. It’s almost inconceivable to prepare dinner daily. But take-out and frozen meals have loads of environmental drawbacks. This week, you’ll be able to take motion for the Earth by cooking forward.
Action: Cook Ahead
The Problem With Quick Dinners
Processed meals have a big environmental impact. Frozen dinners are often less healthy than meals cooked at residence, and meals ready at eating places usually are too. Frozen meals – even those in cardboard containers – generate loads of nonrecyclable plastic packaging and are additionally energy-intensive, requiring refrigeration alongside the distribution chain from the producer to the grocery retailer to your home freezer. Life cycle evaluation has confirmed that selfmade meals have a much smaller footprint than industrially ready meals.
Take-out containers generate loads of waste. Food is wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil, then positioned into paper, plastic, or Styrofoam containers, after which put into paper luggage and/or plastic luggage for carrying. Besides the packaging waste, take-out generates waste with plastic cutlery, wood chopsticks, disposable napkins and straws, and particular person sauce and seasoning packets. Nearly all of it leads to the landfill. Restaurant food loss rates are excessive, and extra meals is wasted as prospects throw away uneaten parts of outsized restaurant meals. Take-out additionally generates greenhouse gasoline emissions from transportation, both by you or a supply driver.
The Benefits of Home Cooking
When you retailer meals ready in your personal residence, you’ll be able to select reusable containers like glass jars and different plastic-free options. Cooking at residence provides you extra management over portion dimension, which reduces meals waste. Planning ahead reduces meals waste additional. When you prepare dinner at residence and freeze or refrigerate leftovers, you solely keep food frozen for a number of days and no additional automobile journeys are required for take-out or supply. Cooking forward provides you the advantages of selfmade with out the inconvenience.
Some folks prefer to take a day on the weekend to prep meals for the entire week. But if you happen to don’t like spending such an enormous block of time within the kitchen or assume every week of pre-cooked meals appears like every week of leftovers, there are much less excessive choices. It solely takes a couple of minutes reviewing your schedule to see which days you’ll have time to prepare dinner and once you’ll be too busy. Cook double batches on much less busy days (which additionally makes your stove more efficient) and eat leftovers the opposite days.
If you’re not a fan of leftover dinners, strive the “overlapping elements” technique of weekly meal planning. For instance, you may roast an entire hen the primary day. Chop up leftover hen and additional greens to make a salad the following day, then use the additional precut greens for fast tacos on day three.