Roast duck, pork, and goose. Add some gravy on the side.... With the kitchen simmering all day, you've got food for the next week by the end of the night! Then, before you get to finish it, the leftovers spoil and into the bin they go...
Consider the actual price of imported foods. Market prices do not reflect the actual costs of them. Besides the environmental resources going into the production of food, transportation matters! The movement of food globally results in carbon emissions and pollutants from freight activities by sea, aircraft, or trucking. In terms of production, agriculture, including meat production and the land use changes, comprises of nearly 25% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, there is great potential in the positive impacts with changes in diet.
However, the traditional Christmas dinner is a difficult one to tackle and make greener because of long-standing traditions of plentiness, togetherness, and the utter satisfaction of having three types of meat and about half dozen other side dishes. The abundance is something that we appreciate as well, but we believe in small steps towards a greener Christmas dinner.
Here, we explore ways in grocery shopping, dinner preparing, and handling leftovers in order to see which small steps can be taken to reduce waste and the environmental impacts of what we eat. It's hard to go fully vegetarian for Christmas dinner and we understand that completely! So, let's see where we can at least make some positive changes.
***Plan how much food you need: Call and make sure the guest list
***Pick foods that most people like/will eat
***No plastic shopping bags - bring your own and reuse them
***See if you can buy loose vegetables and fruit to avoid the extra plastic packaging
***Buy locally and reduce transportation impacts of food
***Reduce use of canned foods - and recycle the cans that you do use
***Pick foods that are closer to expiration at the grocery store (you're going to use them soon anyways!)
***Look at what you have in the fridge and avoid one-time use special ingredients
***No one-time-use paper/plastic plates
***Buy wooden/bamboo type kitchenware (if necessary) or borrow extra cutlery from friends or family
***Turn one meat dish and some side dishes into vegetarian ones
***Reduce the total amount of food (reduce food waste in the end)
***Reduce lighting (more hygge anyways!)
***Find out if what you are cooking need the oven pre-heated. Many recipes does not need preheating which will save you both time and energy.
***Use reusable cloth or recycled paper towels
***Compost food waste
***Make sure to store leftovers properly to avoid spoiling
***Recycle any recyclable food packagings
***Get creative in recipes for leftovers
In the end, traditions evolve with time. Maybe now, Christmas dinner will evolve to incorporate more vegetarian options. Even if effort is slow on that end, there are other ways to reduce the environmental footprint in grocery shopping and food handling. Take the aspects of making Christmas dinner greener into your day-to-day routine as well!
IbN hopes you take into consideration our advice on a greener Christmas dinner and we wish you a Merry Christmas and great holiday fun!