After cutting out the toxic chemicals in many areas of my life these past few years, I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it was important for me to prioritize clean, non-toxic products, tools and real food! I started reading labels, doing my own research, and becoming more aware of how chemicals were affecting my health.
Although I’m nowhere near perfect, I believe every little bit helps. I hope these tips are helpful for you, and would love to hear what you do to live lean, clean, and green!
Here are 5 ways to go green in the kitchen:
1. Ditch the plastic containers.
- Use glass storage containers – you can find usually find these at most retail or grocery stores, or grab this set online.
- Switch your plastic water bottle for a glass or a stainless steel bottle.
- Reuse old nut butter, sauce, and jam jars to hold salads or smoothies. Jars are perfect for keeping smoothies fresh as all you have to do is shake and drink! You can also reuse storage containers to hold flours, nuts, and seeds (here are some easy ways to incorporate more nuts and seeds to your diet).
2. Eat real food.
- Focus on food that comes from the earth: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat and seafood.
- Buy local when you possible; if not, prioritize organic when buying the produce on the dirty dozen list. Look for products with ingredients you can pronounce. Get rid of the artificial sweeteners and anything else artificial.
- Try growing your own herbs or a vegetable garden. This way, you can avoid using toxic pesticides in soil and you save money by growing produce at home. You’ll also be helping the environment! Check out this article to find out how to regrow food from scraps.
3. Reduce (food) waste.
- Planning and preparing meals is helpful when trying to reduce food waste. Even if you only have a general idea of what you’ll be eating before you head to the store, use a grocery list to keep you from last-minute grocery splurges on things you don’t need. By washing, cutting, and storing your food, you’re much more likely to use it. Here are some easy meal ideas for you.
- Eat your leftovers or freeze them for a day when you don’t feel like cooking, for a quick heat-and-eat meal. Use your leftover produce in pancakes, salads, or smoothies.
- Recycle your plastics, cardboard, and paper; compost your food waste and try to choose items made with recycled materials. Here’s how you can reuse 13 things you’d normally throw away.
4. Skip the packaging, and while you’re at it, say no to plastic bags.
- If you’re eating real food, chances are you’re already buying products with less packaging; after all, apples don’t need to be sold in a plastic box. Try to avoid buying things with a lot of packaging to reduce waste.
- While you’re out shopping, take reusable bags to the store with you. I like to leave mine in the trunk, so I don’t forget them. If you do forget, just be sure to reuse the paper or plastic bags that the store gives you.
5. Be energy efficient.
- Use the oven as little as possible, and if you do turn it on, cook more than one thing at a time. If you’re cooking for two, try using a small toaster or convection oven instead.
- When cooking on the stove top, use the correct size pot or pan. If your burner is 8 inches, try using an 8-inch pot so as not to waste heat. Also, make sure your pans have tight fitting lids to help reduce cooking time.
- Pressure cookers are also a great way to save energy because they reduce cooking time.
And, most importantly… don’t stress! If you’re just starting on this path, choose one area you’d like to change, and go for it. If you try to overhaul your entire kitchen at once, you’ll make yourself crazy. No one is perfect. This is about doing what’s best for your body and home – do what you can, every little bit helps.
Do you have suggestions or questions? I’d love to hear them – please share and leave a comment!
Alexandra Maul, MPH is a health educator and public health professional. After experiencing debilitating chronic health issues and learning how to heal, she created Made to Glow, a healthy living guide that educates and inspires others around healthy eating, self-care practices, and non-toxic living. Alex is passionate about empowering others to feel their best, and loves to share kitchen tips, naturally gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, relaxation and fitness suggestions, and ways to live lean, clean, and green. Connect with Alex on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.