Categories
Green Living

6 Ideas To Reduce Single-Use Plastic

 

Single-use plastic has become the plague of our time, polluting rivers, oceans and the environment. It has become such a danger to wildlife and sealife that it is believed that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the planet’s oceans.

Such is the extend of the problem that microplastics have been found in human stools for the first time suggesting the tiny particles created when plastic decomposed may be widespread in the human food chain.

Just over 100 years, that’s how long it took plastic to take over our lives. In fact the first mass consumer plastic-based products only appeared in the 1940s. Light and versatile, with the added bonus of not being easily breakable, plastic quickly came to replace glass and ceramic containers. Convenience, of course, also played a major role in the expansion of the use of plastic.

Avoiding plastic all-together can be tricky and maybe also counter-productive. For example, reusable storage containers such as Tupperware can be used for years and avoid food waste. It is worth noting, though, that there is a wide range of health arguments for avoiding some of the constituents of plastic, such as around BPA or phthalates, which I have talked about before here and here.

Reducing the amount of single-use plastic though is a pressing issue.  Avoiding over-packaged products is a good start, but we can all limit the amount of plastic in our lives thanks to a host of products (some available from our eco online shop By Nature), services and tips.

  • SHOP FOR LOOSE PRODUCE

Forget individually wrapped cucumbers, bananas shrinked wrapped on polysterene trays or whatever other nonsense, overpackaged formats shops use to sell fresh fruit and vegetables. Head for the loose section and use produce bags such as the ones below instead. Washable and reusable, they are perfect for small and bigger produce. Made from organic cotton mesh, so that the cashier can easily spot what’s inside at the checkout.

 

  • PACK A STYLISH REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG

Since the 5p charge was introduced in the UK, single-use plastic bag usage has dropped 85%. Still, there are occasions where personally I am still caught out by not carrying a reusable bag while shopping. And on those occasions, I get really mad with myself. First, because I end up having to take a plastic bag, second because I hate wasting money.

Here are some of my fail-safes to always have a reusable bag with me:

– Keep one in my handbag.
– Keep one in my work bag / backpack.
– Have one in the glove box of the car.
– I literally add “reusable bags” to my shopping list so I remember to take them: yes, I do get that frazzled at times ?
– Any kind of reminder works (phone, sticky note on the fridge etc..)
– As soon as I have unpacked the shopping, I gather some up next to the front door ready to go back in the car.

Envirosax Optimistic

  • BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINERS WHEN SHOPPING

While many people have been using their own containers when shopping at their local zero-waste shops, did you know that most supermarkets now encourage shoppers to do the same at fish, meat and deli counters? While it takes a bit of pre-planning, using  your own containers greatly reduces the amount of single-use plastic packaging.

You might be confused about what type of containers to use. Personally I find reusable plastic containers such like the ones below from Addis really practical when picking up groceries from zero-waste shops. They are light and easily stackable and less likely to break than glass containers.

Addis Meal Prep v11

  • FORGET CLING FILM

Instead of cling film, wrap left over food with a reusable alternative such as the beeswax wraps below. For a vegan alternative, look out for soy wax wraps or rice bran wax wraps.

Wax wraps are flexible and slightly adhesive so they can easily be shaped around food and bowls or folded into packages to store food at room temperature or in the fridge. They are generally made of (organic) cotton or hemp, with the wax added, and can be composted at the end of their lives.

 

  • REUSE YOUR MILK BOTTLES

Milk and More

Have you ever thought of how many plastic milk bottles you dispose of every week? Why not switch to re-usable glass bottles instead. Since last year we have been using Milk & More to get organic milk delivered to our doorstep. The milkman picks up our empty bottles when delivering. Each bottle can then be reused on average 25 times before they are recycled. Conveniently Milk & More also delivers Plenish Dairy-Free Milk, organic fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh orange juice in glass bottles and organic porridge in plastic-free packaging.

 

  • BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH CONTAINERS

Earlier this year, environmental charity Hubbub found that with many people now having their lunch on the go, “the average person generates 276 pieces of rubbish each year – from sandwich boxes, to crisps and napkins” alone.

Packing your own lunch, whether for work or school, is a great way to reduce this unnecessary single-use plastic waste. Hubbub suggests that, if you do buy lunch, you can take your own container to the shop and ask them to fill it.

Some containers like the one below from A Slice of Green even include compartments and stackable trays so that to combine different dishes or snacks.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Beginners' Guides

How To Meal Prep for a Week of Breakfasts and Lunches

Addis Meal Prep v1

Ever wondered how best to keep your healthy eating goals on track? Do you find yourself mid-week lacking inspiration for your meals, ending up craving something you invariably regret afterwards. A little planning and organisation might help and meal prep is a great tool to keep you on track and satisfied.

Meal prep is all over Instagram. Expertly cut vegetables, matching containers and harmonised colour schemes, the picture-perfect meal preps displayed around social media can be quite intimidating and sometimes seem even too pretty to eat.

Meal prep is in fact a fantastic opportunity to keep a closer eye on your food budget. Rushing around, it is easy to grab breakfast, lunch or a snack on-the-go but it can get expensive too. Bulk preparing meals in advance, will also save you time and effort. Once all the cutting, chopping, cooking is done, there is less day-to-day tidying up to do in the kitchen.

 

Addis Meal Prep v2

Having a weekly meal prep routine does not need to be a burden. Nothing prevents you from having a different meal everyday but, in the interest of saving time, it is good to have a certain amount of repetition during the week so you get the most of your batch cooking preparation. Here are a few tips to keep things doable and achievable.

1 – Define your meal prep goals
Decide on what matters most. Keep things simple and achievable. If you have never done meal prep before, trying to organise all your meals at once will be extremely challenging.
– What do you want to achieve? Are you trying to eat healthier food?
– What are your needs? Is it breakfast, lunch, snacking and/or dinner you are struggling with? Do you have some time on the day to cook or do you require complete ready meals?
– Do you have any nutritional requirements? Trying to cut down on sugar? Do you need more protein intake to fit with your exercise routine?

2 – Plan time and portions
– Decide when you can allocate time to bulk prepare your meals. Weekends might work better as you will need to set aside 2-4 hours.
– Decide how many people are you meal prepping for.

3 – Keep a file of recipes
– Select your favourite dishes and stay on the look out for new inspiration. Bookmark recipes on the internet, keep a binder of the ones you find in magazines, supermarket recipe cards or photocopies from cookbooks.

4 – Plan your week ahead
– Keep a calendar of the daily meals included in your meal prep. Adjust your calendar to fit around any commitments you have during the week.
– Write a shopping list. Cross check which ingredients you already have.
– Keep in mind that some foods will keep longer than others and plan your meals accordingly.

5 – Do a prep list
What needs chopping, cooking, blending etc
– Can you combine your ingredient prep list between recipes to save time?

6 – Plan your containers
– Make sure you have enough to stock up food. Choose shapes that are easily stackable in the fridge.
– If you want hot food at work, are your containers suitable for the microwave? Or do you prefer taking in an insulated pot?

Addis Meal Prep v3

Once you have practiced meal prep a few times, it will become second nature. It is a trial and error process so don’t be discouraged if it is not perfect at first. Soon you’ll know which recipes work best and your shopping list and prep list will be done in no time.

Following the tips above, I have devised a meal prep for weekday breakfasts and lunches. This is what I struggle the most with. Most mornings I operate in a daze and often end up with two slices of toast and jam washed down by coffee. A far cry from a nutritious start of the day. If I have any leftovers from the night before, then lunch is an easy choice. However, if I have nothing prepared ahead, I end up snacking or having chaotic meals.

I have selected a few seasonal dishes from my recipe section, paying attention that some of them such as the granola, muffin or hummus can be shared across this weekly meal prep. I am also planning to have some food leftover, so that we can have the bean casserole in the evening. Any extra muffins will keep in the freezer.

MEAL PLAN

Meal Prep Meal Plan

Here are the links to the different recipes (I have simplified toppings on some of these to suit the meal prep process)

* Rise & Shine Overnight Porridge
* Blueberry Lemon Muffins
* Green Winter Smoothie
* Date Granola
* Spinach & Bean Chipotle Casserole
* Moroccan Chickpea Salad
* Hummus
* Tzatziki

MEAL PREP LIST

Think ahead about what you need to make first and how much active time is required. Here I need the oven for the muffins and the granola, so I make the muffins first as the granola needs to be in the oven for longer.

[  ]  Prepare porridge
[  ]  Make muffins

[  ]  Make granola
[  ]  Cut vegetables
[  ]  Make bean casserole
[  ]  Make dips
[  ]  Cut fruits
[  ]  Make smoothie to freeze
[  ]  Make yogurt pot

 

CONTAINERS

Once you have prepared the food you will need to store it. Deciding which size containers you need can be tricky so plan ahead. Addis sent me a selection of their Seal Tight range, which I find really practical as they are hard-wearing, sturdy and stack easily in the fridge. A total lifesaver when it comes to both meal planning and food storage, they are also BPA-free and suitable for fridge, freezer, microwave and dishwasher.

Addis Meal Prep v11

From 200ml to 5 litre, Addis Seal Tight comes in a variety of shapes, forms and sizes. This is really important as it helps maximise space and functionality. I have a selection of round, square and rectangular containers as well as beakers.  Being “seal tighted” ensures that food keep fresher for longer which is also paramount when you prepare food in advance. For individual smoothies I use 200ml containers which easily stack in a freezer drawer.

Addis Meal Prep v10

Addis Seal Tight reuseable plasticware collection is made in the UK to minimalise the carbon footprint. The containers are made from a virgin master batch of new plastic and can be recycled at the end of their lifecycle at your nearest waste recycling centre to become post-consumer waste that can be remade into another hard plastic item. Hard-wearing to stand the test of time, they come with a 10 year guarantee.

 

PICTURE CONTAINERS
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Addis. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Addis Meal Prep Pin