The plentiful benefits of sustainable dining

Written by Rachel Favilla | 10 March, 2020

Do you know what I love about sustainable dining? It’s not a diet and there are no rules.

We replace strict guidelines with flexible intentions and heart-felt commitments to both our bank account and environment.

So, what is sustainable dining? In a (composted) nutshell, it’s about only shopping for groceries that you need, only preparing that which you’ll use, using as much of each food as you possibly can (I’m talking cores, peels, seeds etc.) and only re-stocking when you actually need to. A.K.A when your crisper is bare and there’s no leftovers on the refrigerator shelves.

The benefits are plentiful.

No half-eaten packets of limited edition crisp flavours that sounded gross but fascinated you so much that you ‘just had to’ try them.

No feeling guilty when you throw out the leftover roast meat that wasn’t eaten. Imagine if someone farmed, killed, marinated, cooked and ate half of you but never made use of that remaining fifty percent. Excuse me, but um, rude!

No waking up in the middle of the night, three years from now, feeling regret for buying your bananas in a single-use bag. You know those thick yellow skins? That’s Mother Nature’s way of demonstrating that she’d like you to cut down your reliance on the immortal waste product we know as plastic. With sustainability as your guide, you’ll take the high road and just put the bananas in your trolley… naked. I know, right? Platonically arousing.

That’s a lot of no’s. What are we saying ‘yes’ to?

Yes, to better poos. Do you know how much fibre we toss each year? I don’t, and honestly, I don’t want to. Between the perfectly edible apple cores and broccoli stalks that I witness my family and friends chuck on the daily, I’m assuming it’s a hefty statistic. Take that fibre and let it co-create an ode-worthy turd in the process. Chop up the broccoli (or cauliflower) stalks and cook them with the florets. Try eating the whole apple, bar the stalk. Go on, I dare you.

Yes, to growing your savings account. Think of the all food you’ve thrown out in the past month – including the café or restaurant meals you didn’t tote home in a doggy bag. Estimate how much that food was worth in monetary value. $10, $20, goodness, help you, $30? Now multiply that number by 12. That’s how much extra you could be putting away for a rainy day simply by not buying more than you need and making an effort to use every last scrap of food in your kitchen. It might not be millions, but it’s something and far superior to landfill.

Yes, to cooking less. For anyone who is job rich and time poor, this is the one that will get you on board (I hope). You see, sustainable dining asks you to bulk cook. If the oven is on, don’t just roast one tray of veggies, roast 3. And toast some cashews while you’re at it. And bake several sweet potatoes for stuffing midweek. And roast a tray of chickpeas. The oven will be on for a few hours and you’ll have the crux of meals for days to come sorted. Roasting brings limp veggies back to life and spruces up nuts that were starting to go stale.

Yes, to saving power. Not only are you being time efficient when the oven is on (so that overall, it’s on less), but you’re going to be efficient in the way you use your freezer. Load her up. Freeze your spinach for smoothies and a few sliced zucchinis for the same purpose. If you aren’t going to use the rest of that cucumber, it gets sliced and frozen as well.

Then freeze your nuts – the plant kind, fellas. You can use them straight from the freezer and it will keep them from going rancid. Peel and freeze any bananas that are on their way to a fate of banana bread. You can blend them with coconut milk for an instant ice-cream.

Cook up a few containers’ worth of rice and/or pasta to thaw and toss with roast veggies and a simple olive oil dressing for a no-brainer mid-week meal.

Last one – I promise. Freeze your bread. It thaws within 10 minutes if you’re eating it fresh or you can pop it straight from the freezer and into the toaster. If your bread is already stale, whizz it up in the food processor and turn it into bread crumbs.

That’s enough for now. Part of sustainability is keeping it simple. Let’s re-cap;

  1. Only buy the food you know you’ll use
  2. Have a plan of how you’re going to use everything up
  3. When cooking, use the whole food. If you aren’t sure whether a certain skin, seed of leaf is edible, Google will know the answer, I’m sure of it
  4. Be creative towards the end of the week. What leftovers can you combine with bits and pieces from the pantry and freezer to make a meal. Hint, hint; a green smoothie followed by banana slices and peanut butter is a totally acceptable dinner
  5. Buy less, prep more, cook less, freeze more
  6. Celebrate your savings growth, energy thriftiness, time management wins and the big hug you’re giving planet earth

After all. There is no planet B. Bon appetit.

Did this inspire you? If so, I’d love to see snaps of your jam-packed freezer, creative leftover-based meals and naked bananas (no pun intended – I am only, and I mean only, talking about the curvy yellow fruit). Tag me on Instagram @rachelfavilla or Facebook @realsoupfortherealsoul


Rachel Favilla

Rachel is an warm, personable and whimsical BHSc Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Author of the hilarious book 'Periods, Poo & A Glorious You'. Rachel loves nothing more than marrying health with humour and science with soul. You can find her and her book at www.realsoupfortherealsoul.com and connect with her on facebook @realsoupfortherealsoul, Instagram @rachelfavilla and Youtube @rachelfavilla

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