Turn to Sustainable Cooking for You and Your Family
It seems that we have to consider so many things when it comes to our diet and wallet these
days. How can we eat better? How can we save more money? What can we do for the environment? Well, perhaps by adopting sustainable home cooking practices in your kitchen, you’ll find ways of answering all three. Turning to sustainable cooking may be one of the best decisions you ever make for you and your family – and this guide will show you why that is.
Why home cooking is better
Before we consider the specific ingredients people should use, it’s important to highlight just how important home cooking can be. A lot of families aren’t eating enough home cooking (though things are improving!). Parents are often pretty overworked these days; meals that have been prepared are not only relatively cheap, but they’re also very quick. This makes them seem more economical, right? But the truth is that home cooking is much more so.
The fact is that buying prepared food or going to a restaurant means that you’re paying, in part, to have someone else prepare your food. Prepare it yourself and you’re cutting out the need to pay for that. Your payment also helps the company in question pay for packaging and advertising. Preparing your own meals helps you save a lot of money in the long run.
Another reason that you should rely more on home cooking for you and your family is that it gives you so much more control when it comes to what goes into your food. Your body has nutritional needs, after all – in fact, it may even have specific nutritional needs that others won’t have to as great an extent.
Unless you cook your food yourself, you’re basically at the mercy of whatever nutrition some business feels like adding to the meals they sell to you. If you want a specific meal, but want some more protein in it, then cooking it yourself is the key – you can add chickpeas, or lentils, or nuts. Home cooking is hands down the best way to make sure you and your family get the nutrients you all need.
What you don’t want in your food
It’s not just about what you do want in your food, but what you don’t want in your food – and that’s where we turn to more ethical and sustainable cooking. Home cooking doesn’t cancel out all the risks that come with buying prepared meals. Your ingredients may still be loaded with things you don’t want in your body.
Pesticides, toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, artificial coloring, texturizers, preservatives… the list can go on. It’s not exactly a list of ingredients that gets your stomach rumbling, right? When you buy sustainable ingredients, you’re much less likely to get products that contain these items. Sustainable ingredients are procured with the environment and freshness in mind, meaning such things aren’t going to be added to what you’re buying.
Considering the environment
Pesticides and other harmful chemicals don’t exactly do a bunch of good for the environment. And the worse the environment is, the worse a lot of our produce is going to be. But it’s not just the growth methods you have to consider when it comes to being environmentally-friendly in your approach to food.
Sustainable cooking also means you should take other aspects into account, such as shipping. The less local your produce is, the bigger the carbon footprint; after all, transport is hardly known for its positive effect on the environment. This is why sustainable cooking puts a big emphasis on getting your produce from local sources, as well as doing your research when it comes to the farms and other companies that oversee the entire process.
The problem with produce
The kind of produce you buy can also have a detrimental effect that defeats the point of sustainable cooking. Let’s take two examples of produce that has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years: quinoa and avocados. Brilliant and delicious foods, to be sure, and very healthy – this is part of the reason why they’re become so popular. But because of the surge in demand for these items, the prices of those items in the areas in which they are grown – which is very rarely in the United States – skyrocket.
This has a detrimental effect on those economies as well as the ecologies; while some people benefit greatly, the local consumers don’t. This is another reason that keeping things local is important. Let’s say you’re somewhere in California; you may want to consider looking into Boggiatto produce, instead of buying produce from an area that’s farther away, making it more difficult to assess any positive or negative impact.
Cooking with the seasons
Ever noticed that there are particular fruits and vegetables that are considered “in season” at a given time, but which seem to be available all year round anyway? This is certainly very common in fruits such as strawberries and oranges. This is because there’s always a way to grow whatever you want, regardless of the season. Of course, as you can probably imagine, it takes a lot more resources to do so – and this can include the use of undesired chemicals or unsavory storage practices.
So while it may be inconvenient to go without a particular item during a season, it may be best if you want to keep things as sustainable as possible. Local produce is highly unlikely to be tampered with in such a way; if something’s out of season, they probably won’t have it – and this is a good thing in the long run.
Growing your own
Of course, if you fancy getting really serious about sustainable home cooking, then you may want to look into the possibility of growing your own produce. Pretty much all of the benefits that have been listed so far can be felt in an even greater proportion if you’re actually growing your produce yourself. It’s certainly cheaper to grow your own; it gives you the most control possible over what’s going in your food; it ensures that you’re getting the freshest produce possible.
So why doesn’t everyone grow their own food? Well, it’s true that not everyone has soil that is suitable, though it is possible to resolve that problem. For the most part, people tend to think it’s more complex than it really is. Perhaps you could work with something small and simple just to highlight to yourself that it’s possible. Consider growing your own herbs – rosemary, basil, thyme, and parsley are among the most common. The seeds can cost a couple of dollars, and you can keep those plants alive for years if you play your cards right.
Teaching your kids
One of the best things about home cooking is that you can pass a lot of skills down to your children – and being able to cook is certainly one of the most important skills someone can learn. When you throw sustainability into the mix, you can also teach them a lot of other lessons.
Everything we’ve highlighted here so far can tie into important lessons that kids should take on board from their youth. We’re talking here about some of the most vital things with which people should concern themselves: what they put into their body and how it affects their health; how their purchasing choices affect economies and ecologies; the health of the environment and our responsibility to protect it for future generations. When you think about it like this, cooking isn’t really just cooking. It’s a means by which you can better understand yourself and the world around you.