Greening Your Grocery Shopping
First of all invest in some grocery bags that you can use over and over again. I bought 6 of these big ones from Ikea for .99 cents each and I love them. I cannot tell you how much easier it is to carry them into the house as opposed to all those plastic or paper bags (that the average household uses more than a thousand of a YEAR). You can even carry them on your shoulder like a beach bag.
Rethink your week: In an effort to save gas try to combine grocery shopping with other errands such as going to the bank, the cleaners,the liquor store,to get gas, or the library etc.
Shop once a week ( I know, I know..) but you won't believe how much this will simplify your life buying dinner for all 7 nights. Five minutes of planning can go a very long way. No more wondering at 5:00 PM what the heck you are going to have. Start by making a master list on your computer of everything you like to cook. Put your list into simple categories such as pasta dishes, salads, soups, seafood, meat dishes, chicken, etc. Print the list out and put it in the car for reference. Before I shop I make a grocery list and on the side of the list I write the numbers 1-7 ( or fewer numbers if you know you already have plans for dinner out on certain nights). Next to each number I write down a dinner idea. This is never set in gold as you can move dinners around to suit the day and your own personal cravings. If you have a family or roommates it is especially helpful to ask them if they are having a yearning for anything in particular to give you menu ideas. I know this all probably sounds extreme but you won't believe how great it is to have the shopping and planning done all in just over an hour. This saves on gas guzzling repeat trips to the grocery store but also on take-out food- not to mention all the waste that take-out packaging creates.
Buy in bulk. You've heard this before, but individual packaging truly creates a ton of waste.
Shop off hours: Standing in rush hour/weekend traffic burns a lot of gas. If you can't shop during a weekday, shop after dinner if you can. Not only will you avoid traffic, you will also sail right through the grocery store. Ta da!
Buy local, buy in season, support your local farmer's market.
Be more conscious: I've been noticing how easy it is to use more than I actually need of household items such as toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, dish soap, paper towels and even toilette paper etc.
Now here is the biggest thing: Consuming red meat creates MORE of an environmental hazard than our fuel emissions do. What you ask? Can this be? Maybe you have heard this before- and it is true- check this out. Personally I am not at the point where I can give up red meat entirely without feeling very deprived. But there is something that we meat lovers can do- we can eat it less frequently. We can also eat less of it when we do eat it by using smaller amounts in our cooking. We don't need to use a pound of meat when we make lasagna- we just need to flavor it-so trying using half of what a recipe calls for. Also join me on the national trend of Meatless Mondays.
Here is my last tip: When you buy pre-packed packages of food- whether it is chicken, or cheese or snow peas- choose the ones that weigh the least. This is a small effort that adds up. When you consume less there is less demand for the stores to stock more of it- and for the delivery trucks to deliver more of it to the store. Turns into a big energy saver in the long run I assure you. You also end up consuming less food this way which is helpful in the battle of the bulge, not to mention in lowering your grocery bill as well.
I dedicate this post to my Mamacita. A domestic goddess born in 1922. Please feel free to comment with any tips of your own.