Protecting the environment and doing what we can to control climate change is a timely conversation. Headlines on the topic point to the big things we can do, such as use less fuel and adopt alternative energy sources. While these innovations are important for helping our world to be cleaner (and cooler), they overlook the small things we can do every day. This Earth Month, let’s examine our habits that may seem insignificant but ultimately have a big impact on our carbon footprint.
Pass on steak once a week and the impact is the same as if you took your car off the road for about three months. Furthermore, when a four-person household passes on meat one day a week it’s like reducing everyone’s showers by three minutes. It takes almost 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat. This is a small change that has an important impact, for sure.
While I hope that we all recycle the many plastic water bottles most of us go through, it’s important to remember that even recycling uses energy and that a better step is to us a reusable water bottle to reduce waste and save energy. Consider, too, the other materials that go into packing a lunch or wrapping up leftovers. Do you use tin foil instead of containers? Plastic wrap instead of a reusable wrap or paper? Reusable snack pouches instead of plastic bags? Consider the small changes you can make that reduce waste.
Choose Environmentally Friendly Companies
Some companies go out of their way to use less or recycled packaging, choose to support local growers, or do what they can to generally minimize their carbon footprint. If possible, recognize these efforts by buying products from these companies when you can. At the same time, consider that when we support our local growers and producers, we are not only boosting our local economy, but we are also doing our part to reduce carbon footprint as those goods don’t need to be transported far, thereby using less fuel.
Eat Less Takeout
Think about the amount of packaging that went into your last take out order. If “food to go” is a common practice for you, then consider how you can either make more time to prepare simple meals at home or take advantage of healthy convenient items available in store that use less packaging and give you leftovers for the next day. When you do get takeout, please try to recycle as much of the materials as you can.
Make a Pot of Coffee
Single use coffee pods are very popular, but have you considered how much waste those little cups produce? According to environmental organizations, in 2014 there were enough coffee pods buried in landfills to go around the earth 10.5 to 12 times. While some of the newer pods are recyclable, it seems that many households believe they are recycling pods correctly, but aren’t. There are many ways to easily brew an afternoon pickup, consider the most environmentally responsible method that works for you.
As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit Hannaford.com/Dietitians online for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AllisonStowell) or Instagram (@AllisonJStowell).
Chickpea Salad (3 Guiding Stars)
Make a full batch of the roasted chickpeas and enjoy the leftovers for snacks and salads. The dressing, however, is what really makes this salad pop. Whisk up extra and store in the fridge for easy, protein-packed dressings for your favorite salads. For more recipes, nutrition tips and information on Guiding Stars, please visit www.GuidingStars.com.
1 (29 oz.) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained
⅛ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. paprika
½ cup hummus
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried dill
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Water to thin
8 oz. spring mix lettuce
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
20 low-sodium whole grain pita chips, crushed
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss chickpeas with spices and roast in a single layer on a baking sheet, stirring every 10 minutes, until crunchy (30 – 40 minutes).
Whisk together hummus, garlic, dill, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.
Whisk in just enough warm water to make pourable.
Toss salad ingredients together with roasted chickpeas and dressing.