This time of year is always full of hope and new promises…yet more often than not, these promises are broken within a month or two. Whilst dry January and Veganuary are both excellent for our bodies and our health, there are ways in which you can make changes that extend beyond the first month of the year, and into your daily habits and routine. Environmental fads and diets are not always sustainable, as not eating enough can lead to negative health effects or push people further into excessive eating once the diet is over. However, one option that can help both our bodies, and the planet, is making positive changes by eating more vegetarian and vegan food, whilst supporting sustainable diets. It’s time to consider the impact that our food has on the environment in 2021.
Plant Based Meals and Wasteless Cooking
It may be shocking to hear that roughly one third of food produced around the world is wasted, which contributes up to 10% of total man-made greenhouse gas emissions*.
That’s why, at Prestige Venues & Events, we’ve made a promise to cut our carbon emissions 34% by 2025. To achieve these goals, we’re cutting food waste and promoting more plant-based meals with less meat and dairy. These are two easy methods that you can try at home in order to make a difference to both your body, and the planet.
How Does This Help?
Cutting your cooking waste means that air-miles used to produce food imported from foreign countries aren’t for nothing. When oranges and bananas are flown all the way from Brazil or Africa, the last thing you want to do is throw them in the bin, as they’re expensive and energy-consuming to grow, water, package, then bring to a local supermarket. As for plant-based food, the meat and dairy industry is hugely responsible for deforestation (to clear land for raising cattle) and greenhouse gases (gas produced as a biproduct of raising cattle). Therefore, switching to eating more plant-based meals can benefit the environment hugely, leaving less of an impact of the planet, for our children in the next generation to deal with.
Reducing Food Waste
Reducing your food waste can seem overwhelming and unobtainable when you first think about it, yet moving towards wasteless eating is easier than it may seem. We recommend following these simple steps in order to achieve minimum waste after your mealtimes:
- Buy your produce locally. Eating food that has been produced in your local area means that it’s more likely to be organic and will help support local business and trade. Try out farmers markets and grocery stores if you want to notice that extra quality and flavour, or arrange veg-box deliveries if you’re looking to stay away from shops during the pandemic.
- Buy and cook only what you need. By making a food diary for the week, you can ensure you only buy the ingredients needed for the meals you’re going to make. This way there won’t be lots of food left to be thrown in the bin when it goes off. Be extra careful about wasting dairy and meat.
- Try to batch-cook portions of food. For example, pasta and curry sauces can be made in large quantities, then put in tubs in the freezer for later. This is especially good for families or when you’re busy and just looking for something quick to heat up in the microwave—yet it’s healthy too.
- Using up leftovers. If you have leftover vegetables from your cooking, then put them in the freezer or blend them into a soup for later. This is ideal for pre-preparing food for when you’re busy or haven’t got the time to cook from scratch. This way, less will go in the bin.
Going vegan is an incredible choice for your health, and the planet. You can go vegan for a month, or try a few vegan days each week; however you decide to do it, it’ll make a sustainable change, with no more fads or broken promises if you make it work for you. Switching out meat and dairy products drastically reduces your carbon footprint, as dairy milk uses 628 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk, whilst soy milk needs only 28 litres. Dairy milk also produces 3.0 kg of CO2 per litre, whilst almond milk only needs 0.7kg*. These are small changes you can make to cut back, like switching dairy milk to delicious plant-based alternatives, buying veggie/vegan burgers instead of meat, or cooking a new plant-based recipe instead of your usual meat treat once a week.
Is It Healthy?
Yes, eating more fruit and vegetables is great for your body, as they are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. If you regularly eat meat and dairy, you can try switching out a few meals for tasty meat-free alternatives—you don’t need to get rid of everything, and it often won’t last long if you do it all at once. Instead of starting a new year’s diet, why not try opting for healthier plant-based alternatives, so you are more likely to naturally lose weight, and have a lasting positive impact on the planet. Many people worry about protein in a vegetarian or vegan diet; however, lentils, broccoli and beans are all very dense in protein, particularly in relation to meat when analysed in terms of grams of protein per calorie. So yes, plant-based mealtimes are great for you as well as the environment.
If you’re looking to try something a little more interesting and exciting, then we recommend you try local suppliers and independent food stores. You can find a huge selection of delicious grains, pulses, spices and vegetables to make cooking less of a chore and more of an adventure. Try curried chickpeas, lentil pasta or stuffed aubergines for a sumptuous selection of vegetarian meals. Shopping local means you’ll reduce air-miles and support the local economy.
Here are Prestige Venues & Events, we’re continuing to develop our Future 50 and award winning Finer-Diner plant recipe development throughout 2021. This means we’ll be offering you even more ways to eat mouth-watering and sustainable food this year throughout our corporate hospitality venues across the UK.
We wish you a happy, healthy, and adventurous 2021, full of delicious food and sustainable change.
* Source: WRAP 
** Source: TheGrocer.co.uk