Sustainability, Uncategorized

Grocery Shopping: A Necessary Evil

How can we reduce our waste at the grocery store? Every couple of weeks or so we’ve got to re-up our food supply. No matter what, we’ve got to eat. If we lived in a perfect world we would all go to our gardens and bring ingredients for our meal, but unfortunately apartment living doesn’t allow that luxury most of the time. So, we shall do the next best thing available and shop for our supplies at the grocery store. Last time we went to the store, we changed up some of our selections and the way we used our items to reduce our waste.

Big Breakthrough:

Previously I had written about the types of meat that we purchase occasionally. Reducing the amount of meat we eat has really helped reduce the carbon footprint we leave, along with the other obvious benefits of not eating as much meat. This past time at the store we went with the Tofurkey instead of the sausage. We also did not get any lunch meat. Usually we always get it because it makes a good lunch at work, but we were just a few minutes after the deli closed. That’s okay though, these past couple of weeks have really been a learning/adapting experience without it.

Usually I just throw together a sandwich and a side for lunch and call it a day. Now that I’ve been forced to be more creative, it has made me think about my meals at work further in advance. Sometimes I’ll make some extra food to put in a container to easily grab the next day or so. Or I’ll just not be too lazy to cut up vegetables for a salad, and now I am more responsive to making an actual meal in the morning in addition to my breakfast. I even used to use it as an excuse to sleep in a bit later, because making a sandwich is quick and easy. It’s helped me get my internal clock regulated as the time I go in to work fluctuates and throws me off. At this point I feel like I could continue to not get lunch meat and be completely fine. We shall see what the future holds as to whether I continue to get it or not. The money used to purchase the lunch meat could really go towards other things we need, or even be saved!

Decisions, Decisions:

My love for the Earth/environment has officially trumped my love for Ramen noodles. Those packets are SO wasteful! The outer plastic wrapping, cardboard box the packets are in, the noodle plastic covering, and the waste from the container the seasoning is served in: No more! Seeing how much waste was produced from Ramen alone always made me really sad. My SO and I decided to swear off the ramen… It was a guilty pleasure to be able to have so much of something that did not cost much. On the bright side we save about $2 that we can re-allocate to other less wasteful products.

After a few days I had accepted my fate of no longer eating them and realized I can most certainly get along just fine without them. I could feel differences in my body from when I was eating them up to now and I feel so different, a good different! This has also inspired me to really take a look at what we have and what we can make with it. We primarily get the same groceries each time we go, so it’s easy to get into a rut and make the same things over and over. Nobody wants to eat the same thing day in and day out.

Best of times, worst of times:

            This will sound a bit contradictory at first, but both portion control and eating more of what I have has really helped me reduce my food waste. Portion control is helpful in so many ways it’s crazy! It helps food last longer as the proper serving sizes are being eaten, assures we are not overeating our daily intake, and it’s great for your budget! If food is eaten in its proper portions it will last longer. This means you will have to buy less over time and in the long run will save money! Who doesn’t like that?!

Eating more of what I have is something I am improving on, yet still seeking ways to improve. A few of the ways I’ve been practicing this is by making sure I actually eat all of my leftovers instead of just making new food or not eating them at all and letting it go bad. It feels great to not have to cook and just go to the fridge, find something, and warm it up. To do this means you have to have dedication to finish what you’ve started, even if you don’t necessarily want to. Another way of eating more of what you have is to eat more of the vegetables you get! Recently I’ve started to eat more of the stalk of broccoli than I used to ever enjoy before. Now I love chopping up broccoli stalks and putting it in salads, stir fry, and other meals! Trying to cut closer to the parts of vegetables you are removing will help conserve the ones you have, but only do it if it’s acceptable to do so! If you’re just cutting the top of a bell pepper off, try and cut it as little as possible. If you’re trying to cut off a questionable part of a vegetable… well that’s up to you!

It’s still a weird feeling to be questioning and analyzing every decision I make because I am becoming more aware of how much I have been mindlessly consuming. It’s often overwhelming, and sometimes seemingly paralyzing. Reminding myself that it just takes continuous small effort and baby steps of improvement helps when my mind feels frazzled about it. It’s not a hobby, not a habit, it’s a lifestyle change. Sometimes those changes do become your hobbies, but you know what I mean! J I look forward to searching for more ways to reduce my grocery waste.

Sustainably yours,

Nicole

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