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Sustainable Cooking

Caring for Our Common Home, At Home: Sustainable Cooking

By Nick McCreary, Director of Sustainability; and Amanda Robine, Wellness Coordinator

As the Creighton Community shifts to remote work, many of us are finding that we have to cook more. Sustainable Creighton is here to offer you a few tips on how to be sustainable while cooking at home.

Sustainable eating means eating in a way that supports our planet as well as our bodies. Luckily, there are many health benefits to eating sustainably. With help from Creighton Wellness, here are a few ways to prioritize sustainability and health during meal time.

  • Prioritize Plants. Filling half of your plates with fruits and vegetables is a recommendation from many different health agencies. Eating more fruits and vegetables will provide your body with more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients will help support your immune system, brain function, and boost your mood. All forms (fresh, frozen, and canned) of fruits and vegetables provide great nutrition, so choose wisely to meet your needs. Try these recipes for a vegetable packed meal.
  • Prioritizing Plants = Eating Less Meat. Meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than plant food production (Gerber et al., 2013). As energy travels through trophic levels only 10% is retained level to level; therefore, much more energy is required to produce food at higher trophic levels. All meat is produced at higher trophic levels than vegetables and fruits. Additionally, meat production stresses freshwater resources, requires large amounts of land, and at times can inhumanly treat animals. OSP suggests including meat for just one meal a day - little changes can add up!
  • Drink More Water. One of the best ways to keep your body running efficiently is to stay hydrated. Drinking water helps to regulate your body temperature, provide cushion to joints, protect tissues, and get rid of waste products in your body. Grab your favorite re-fillable bottle or cup and aim for 9-11 (8 ounce) glasses each day. Use these recipes to give your water a boost of flavor.
  • Don’t Waste Food. Each year 38 million tons of food (the weight of 38 billion apples or 7.6 billion watermelons) is thrown away in the United States (USEPA, 2016). That number has increased by 50% since 1974 (Hall et al., 2009). Food waste not only wastes money it also wastes all of the resources needed to produce that food. Avoid food waste while at home by eating leftovers and being creative with food scraps. You can make vegetable broth from vegetable scraps, most food can be composted, and many fruits and vegetables can be used to grow more!
  • Eat Mindfully. When you practice mindful eating, you focus on what you are eating and savor each bite. With this strategy you can reflect on how each component of your meals and snacks nourishes your body and gives you energy. Mindful eating also allows you to focus on your hunger and fullness signals to help you learn exactly how much your body needs. Eating the right amount for your body clues you to the amount of food you need to prepare, which can reduce the amount of food waste. Use this guided mindful eating practice to get started.