One way that eco-conscious parents promote eco-friendly parenting is by employing smart ways that could save on food costs for the family.
According to the USDA, in the United States, around 30-40% of food supplies go to annually. This percentage equates to roughly 133 billion pounds of food wasted per year.
This wastage of food resources would not only be a loss of food resources, it is also a major problem for global warming. In the decomposition process, these food wastes emit methane, a greenhouse gas that could trap heat 25 times more than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thereby they contribute around 8%-10% of the greenhouse gas emissions, fueling climate change, according to the World Resources Institute.
A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) revealed that an average American family spends about $1,800 annually on food that would eventually turn out as waste. This amount includes the costs of growing, processing, and transporting food as well as their disposal.
However, through eco-smart practices, we could help minimize food wastage and save hundreds of dollars on food costs per year. In turn, we contribute to a more sustainable approach towards food consumption.
11 Eco-Friendly Ways of Saving Food Costs
Here are 11 eco-smart ways to save on food costs for your family while also making a positive impact on the environment and your community.
1.) Embrace Smart Eating Habits
Teach your children the importance of smart eating habits eating. This could include encouraging them to chew their food thoroughly and savor each bite. Thoroughly chewing food promotes better digestion. In turn, it reduces overconsumption, leading to less food waste.
2.) Plan Your Meals
A little planning goes a long way. Sit down with your family at the beginning of each week to plan meals and create a shopping list for the coming week.
This would ensure you only buy what you need. At the same time, it reduces your carbon footprint by reducing the instances of going back and forth to a supermarket to buy food.
3.) Stick to your Meal Plan
Sticking to your meal plan ensures that whatever you buy will be used up by its allocated time. It means no leftover and unused groceries that would just go to waste because they are no longer usable. However, take note that not all “old” food is completely unusable.
4.) Recycling Food Sources
Not all vegetables and fruits that may look unpalatable are completely unusable. Often, these would be nice additions to soups, smoothies, and other homemade meals.
Instead of throwing “un-fresh” produce, check if they can still be added to casseroles for additional flavor and a boost of nutrition.
5.) Buy Local Produce
Buying local products not only supports farmers in your community but also reduces your carbon footprint. Choosing locally grown produce cuts down on your food miles and emissions and promotes a more sustainable food system.
6.) Grow Your Own
If space permits, grow your own garden. Consider starting a small family garden and encourage your kids to grow it with you.
Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs provides fresh, organic produce. At the same time, it instills a sense of responsibility and connection to nature in your children.
7.) Waste Not
Implement a “zero-waste” mindset in your household. Saved leftovers may be creatively used in new meals or as food composts to fertilize your own garden.
This definitely would not only save you a few bucks but would contribute to a healthier planet.
8.) Opt for Sustainable Packaging
When out shopping or buying groceries, choose products with eco-friendly packaging. By purchasing items with recyclable packaging, you help promote minimal waste.
While doing so, explain to your children why this choice matters. Educate them on how small little things like this can help save the environment.
9.) Explore Sustainable Protein Alternatives
Consider plant-based proteins in your family’s diet instead of animal products. Beans, lentils, and tofu are not only cost-effective but also healthier alternatives to animal protein. They also have a lower environmental impact compared to products made from animal sources.
10.) Buy Seasonal Produce
Keep track of what’s in season at various times of the year, and prepare your meal list and shopping list by taking advantage of these seasonal items. According to the theory of market and demand, products cost when there is an abundance of stocks. Hence, buying fruits and vegetables in season would definitely help you save money. At the same time, you support local farmers and producers, contributing to less wastage of their products.
11.) Encourage Family Involvement
Finally, don’t forget to get your children involved in the process. Educate them on the environmental impact of smart choices in food planning.
By instilling these values early on, you’re raising the next generation of eco-conscious individuals. You are then rest assured that your contribution to the environment does not end with you.
Minimizing food waste contributes to healthier lifestyles. In addition, it helps families save money.
According to the USDA, a person can save around $370 annually by practicing eco-smart ways in meal planning and food preparation. That equates to a saving of almost $1,500 per year for a family of four.
Practicing eco-friendly ways at home is not just a choice for many. It is a commitment to protect future generations.
Practicing eco-friendly habits has a far greater impact than just a lifestyle change. It is a manifestation of our commitment to saving our planet.
By being examples of this environmental stewardship, we teach our children to care for the Earth responsibly. These practices transcend beyond the present, going way beyond the future.