Let’s acknowledge that we live in a society that values health, safety and comfort – and often sees excess packaging as a measure of “safety” for health or a condition for the convenience of consuming a product. But if you look at it, this kind of thinking puts us in a very unnatural position: in fact, at the bottom of a pile of plastic garbage that is not going to disappear anywhere in the next millennium … While a real “green” vegan trip to the store is not just buying healthy and fresh products. This is also an attempt to deliberately reduce the use of plastic.
So, a few tips for those who care and who want to reduce plastic consumption (maybe some of the tips will seem too obvious, but sometimes we forget about the obvious things):
1. Buy whole fruits and vegetables: for example, a whole pumpkin or melon, not their halves wrapped in plastic wrap in a synthetic foam tray! Whole fruits and vegetables are almost always tastier and fresher than halves and slices, although the latter sometimes look more attractive (and especially easily capture the attention of children!).
2. Plan ahead and pexercise willpower. You can significantly reduce not only the amount of packaging, but also time and money by buying only what you really need, and not what attracted attention on the shelf in the supermarket. To do this, you just need to make lists of the right products before going to the store. Once you’ve prepared your grocery list, review it carefully each time and evaluate which foods are most likely to be heavily packaged in plastic. Can they be replaced with others? Maybe something to take by weight, and not in a box in a jar?
In the supermarket, go strictly according to the list, do not be distracted by products that are brightly packaged and attract the eye. If you have doubts about your willpower, take not a cart, but a basket, you still won’t carry much in it, and there are more chances that you won’t buy too much!
3. Find an alternative. Often, instead of buying heavily packaged foods – like protein-rich ready-made dried fruit bars – you can make them yourself at home, it turns out even tastier!
4. Stock up on reusable containers. Open your kitchen cabinets and check out your stock of eco-friendly, reusable food containers: jars, boxes, plastic containers with airtight lids, ziplock bags… You can take some of these containers to the store to put your purchased cereals, dried fruits, nuts, seeds.
5. Fresh – first of all. In many supermarkets, the fresh fruit and vegetable section is right at the entrance or not far from it! This section is your best friend! Here you can buy the most useful and delicious, and without unnecessary packaging.
6. Prepare a snack in advance. If you’re used to snacking between meals, it’s best to plan ahead to eat fresh and healthy without being overly packaged. For example, if you often want to eat in the car, prepare raw food in advance so that it does not distract from driving. Wash and peel the orange, divide it into slices and put it in a vacuum container, and it, in turn, in the “glove box”. You can show a little more ingenuity by cutting apples, washing carrots, sweet peppers, cucumbers – whatever you want! All this will be perfectly preserved until the “X hour”, when the hand eagerly reaches for food in a reusable plastic bag with a zipper or in a vacuum container. It’s an easy and reliable way to eat less candy bars and drinks and more delicious, fresh, healthy food.
7. Take food from home. If you eat lunch at work, it makes sense to bring some food (in a reusable container) from home. This way you can not only reduce the price and diversify the midday meal, but also avoid unhealthy “fillers” – many take them in the dining room to the main course (fried potatoes, questionable freshness of rice and pasta, etc.). And so instead of a boring “side dish” you have a delicious homemade dish with you.
Remember that it is advisable to consume up to 75% raw food at every meal. And just with fresh food from home – no problem: it will not cool down, will not mix, will not lose its appetizing appearance and will not leak from the container.
8. Frequent trips to the supermarket can be avoided.if you buy some vegetables in advance, wash, cut and freeze. So you don’t have to throw away potatoes because they sprouted, greens because they wilted, sweet peppers because they wrinkled. Many vegetables can be frozen. And then, taking them out of the freezer, quickly fry them in a wok – and you’re done!
9. “Big tastier and cheaper” – repeating this “mantra”, boldly pass by colorful stands with “disposable” bags of nuts and seeds, purposefully go to the department where everything of the same is sold by weight and – almost always – tastier and cheaper.
There is no reason to buy nuts, seeds, dried apricots in a package of 50 or 100 grams: if you buy a kilogram by weight, you still won’t have time to spoil! Bring containers of the right size with you – and, eureka! – no plastic bags!
Surely you consume such healthy “super grains” as quinoa, amaranth, long grain and wild rice, millet, etc. So, the packages of these products are usually small and expensive, but in health food stores, many of these cereals can be bought by weight – fresher, tastier, cheaper.
10. Nuts and seeds instead of breakfast cereals. Yes, yes, you yourself knew for a long time, but somehow you didn’t think about it: natural nuts and seeds are usually healthier than ready-made breakfast, no matter what the manufacturer writes on the bright packaging (despite the fact that many people like to eat “ready breakfast” not just in the morning! Nuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium and other nutrients. So if the hand “itself” reaches for “cookies”, “pillows” or cereal somewhere between lunch and dinner – refrain. Chew on a mixture of nuts, peeled sunflower seeds and pumpkins brought from home. So you satisfy your hunger and the desire to “nibble something”, while not harming either your health or the health of the planet.
11. From some nuts you can make homemade nut butter or vegan “cheeses”. Recipes are usually not complicated. Stock up on the recipe, buy nuts or seeds by weight – and go!
12 Peas, but not from a can! Many are accustomed to buying canned peas, beans, lecho and so on. Firstly, these are not always useful products: many cans are covered with harmful plastic from the inside, and almost all canned food contains … preservatives (logical?). And secondly, the packaging is not eco-friendly! Imagine how many galvanized or glass jars you throw in the trash during the year – this mountain of garbage will outlive you! Isn’t it sad? Many say that the process of getting rid of packaging is as natural as the gradual elimination of unhealthy and overly processed foods. It’s important to just consider that avoiding packaging is not some hard but necessary vegan “duty”! This is a healthy choice for your own good. After all, by saying “no” to plastic, you are not only keeping our planet healthy and livable, you are taking a big step towards your own health: it is no secret that packaged foods are often treated with chemicals to make them look beautiful, bright and last longer. Baking powder, preservative, sugar are often added to packaged (even purely vegan) products – do you need it? On the other hand, by buying products with or without minimal packaging, you save carbon miles, your own money, the resources of the planet, while maintaining your health. Isn’t it wonderful?
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