Thinking more sustainably about your shopping isn’t just good for the planet or your pocket, but your health too, says nutritional therapist Sinéad Bradbury.
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, 30 per cent of all food produced in the world is wasted, never eaten. is is a startling statistic to ignore. While it presents a huge challenge for the world, it also offers an opportunity for individuals to make a genuine difference by focusing on our own consumption and shopping habits. The good news is that by doing so, it will not only help you to save money, but will also impact your health for the better. When managed responsibly, you will see tangible results each week. Here’s how…
This includes a three-step approach: 1) Plan your meals 2) Make a shopping list 3) Shop twice a week. If you don’t pay strict attention to these three areas, it will be impossible to manage your food correctly. It has to be a non-negotiable discipline, which, once implemented, will not only lead to only buying what you need, but eating everything you buy. I started implementing this recently, and it’s made a huge difference to our weekly family shop. By shopping twice a week, pre- and post-weekend, as opposed to one big shop, it helps prepare me for any unexpected changes in schedules. It also means we eat out less and cook at home more.
Studies show the foods we most commonly throw out include potatoes, pastas and bread. Carbohydrates have a bad reputation, but they are not unhealthy. However, we are most definitely over-consuming them. Here’s what you need to know. Starchy vegetables are a form of carbohydrate. They provide quick-releasing energy. If you are having parsnips with your dinner, for instance, you generally do not need to include a portion of traditional carbohydrates, ie rice, pasta or potatoes (parsnip have a higher glycaemic index than potatoes, so they will serve as your portion of carbohydrates).
Mastering the art of leftovers can make all the difference in your pursuit of a more economical and environmentally-friendly home. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, think soups, stews and casseroles. These are perfect throughout the winter months. Everything goes in and everything gets eaten. If you normally dispose of the stalky tops of vegetables, don’t! Onion skin, carrot peel, celery leaves, mushroom stalks – they can all be used in stock, which is the ideal flavour enhancer to so many dishes. It also means you’ll be getting the most health-enhancing nutrients into every meal. An omelette or frittata is the perfect solution to use up the ingredients of last night’s dinner into a protein-packed breakfast.
Over-ripe (black) bananas may be hard to get past the kids as a snack, but they will go unnoticed used in pancakes made with oats and eggs. This is also a great post-workout meal. Another top tip is to break up the bunch – the bananas will last for up to a week longer. Apples become even more nutritious when cooked. Stew them, which will make them easier to digest. Caring for the body is what being healthy is all about. If can we do this alongside taking better care of our precious planet, then we are making a difference. It may only feel like a small drop in the ocean of this global crisis, but if all these drops join up, we can make a significant impact together.
To ensure you’re not over-consuming one particular food group, follow this handy guide:
A handful per plate
2 handfuls per plate (broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, beetroot)
A LITTLE HEALTHY FAT
A tablespoon of nuts or seeds, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 1?2 avocado. You can then choose to add a handful of starchy vegetables or carbohydrates if you wish, ie carrots, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, rice or pasta.
For more, log on to sineadbradbury.com
Originally published in IMAGE Magazine October 2018