Top Green Cooking Habits that Can Change Your Kitchen and Your Mindset
For good reason, the transition to adopting eco-friendly practices is quickly spreading from the living room to the kitchen table. And this doesn’t just stop at Millennial and Gen Zs who are getting more environmentally-conscious by the day. Thanks to social media and top influencers, getting greener is now becoming a global trend.
It might be global warming. Or the occurrence of life-threatening diseases. Or a mix of both that led us to this huge shift. But whatever it is, one thing is for sure: green cooking habits are not just a gift to the environment. It is also a gift we give ourselves.
How so? When we say “green cooking habits,” it doesn’t just start the moment we turn on our stove. True sustainability begins with the way our food is farmed right to how we prepare and serve it on our dining table.
Whether you want to embrace the “farm-to-table” concept or you simply want to go organic, here are some of the greenest kitchen practices that can spell sustainability into your kitchen.
Source Local Ingredients
There’s something about being a part of a local community that shares the same beliefs that you have. If you’re not a part of one, a few steps to your local market can help you get that sense of belongingness. There, you can find farmers who would willingly (and interactively) offer you the freshest produce. Who knows? You might even get a good bargain for your week-long meal plan.
So how is sourcing local ingredients a huge part of cultivating green cooking habits? While the ultimate goal of sourcing locally is to help you get healthy, organic ingredients, it doesn’t stop there. When you buy from local farmers, their products don’t have to be transported long-distances, which consumes gas and oil. This, in turn, significantly impacts the environment in a positive way.
This is closely related to buying from your local farmers, but just for emphasis, let’s split our points into two different headings.
There’s a huge difference between buying from the grocery and your local market. For one, it’s no secret that we are getting overpopulated to the point that food production is becoming a huge problem amongst manufacturers.
As a response, many of the food products you see on supermarkets are grown with fertilizers and other chemicals that are detrimental to your health and to the environment. If you need to grab an ingredient from the grocery, check for organic products that are USDA approved. This way, you can be sure that no harmful ingredients are getting into your digestive tract.
Invest in Eco-Friendly Cookware
Teflon-made pans are a staple in almost every American household. Inexpensive and functional, these non-stick pans offer you a great and hassle-free cooking experience. But at what expense?
At temperatures over 450℉, Teflon starts to breakdown, releasing toxic fumes into the air. When inhaled, it can cause flu-like symptoms, including mild cough, nausea, and chest pain. Although this is rare, toxic chemicals are toxic chemicals. And as far as your health and wellness are concerned, these fumes don’t belong in your household.
A healthy, sustainable kitchen includes eco-friendly cookware that’s safe for you and the environment. Fortunately, many companies have launched ceramic, non-stick pans that don’t breakdown except when cooking temperatures reach over 1,000℉.
Non-toxic and eco-friendly, these pans are also made with eco-friendlier versions that use bamboo and recyclable materials for their handles. Our ultimate tip: invest slowly into these items if you find them uneconomical. This way, you can slowly integrate green practices into your living space without breaking a bank.
Go Natural on Your Stove
Let’s face it: electric stoves win over traditional gas stoves, aesthetic-wise. But when it comes to sustainability and long-term efficiency, the latter always reigns supreme.
How so? When you use an electric stove, the heat comes from different sources such as coal, fuel, or gas. The electric stove merely acts as a medium to transport this heat for cooking purposes. Gas stoves, on the other hand, do not generate heat from a different source. It directly uses heat, which makes it more efficient.
Add to that, unlike electric stove that needs pre-heating, gas stoves give you maximum heat control. You can instantly turn the heat up or down when you need to, which results in energy and cost-efficiency. In fact, you can save energy by one-third when you use gas stoves.
Use Your Refrigerator Wisely
Working 24/7, your refrigerating system might be the most hard-working equipment in your household. And statistics prove this, too. Accounting for a significant part of your annual utility bill, your refrigerator should be regularly checked for efficiency.
A great way to prevent your system from overworking is to make sure your food stands at room temperature before going into the fridge. When you put warm food into your fridge, it needs to work double to maintain its idyllic cooling temperatures.
It’s also wise that you maximize your fridge’s space. By doing so, you can get the most out of every penny you spend on utility.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
One of the best green cooking habits is to plan your meals ahead of time. Even internationally-acclaimed chefs maximize their left-overs, and so should you. The best part: you get to save a lot from making cohesive meal plans that make use of your left-overs.
Your roasted chicken, for instance, can be the star of your sumptuous pasta dish the next day. And oh, you can make spreads from left-overs, too! If you can’t think of an appropriate left-over dish, you can also create a compost bin for your garden.
Indeed, creativity can get you far even in the kitchen.
Lastly, Be Mindful
Green cooking habits don’t end by following a few tips and tricks. Sustainability is a holistic approach that requires mindfulness day in and day out. Whether it’s turning off the exhaust fan when it’s not in use or making sure your tap doesn’t leak, eco-friendliness is a complete shift in your mindset and lifestyle.