With our hectic lifestyles, where “Busy-ness” is the new buzzword, it can be hard to make meals from scratch and it’s far easier to reach for the ready-made option. With the added flavours, textures and excessive amounts of salt and fat, ready meals can be hard to resist. But as well as being unhealthy, these meals can be harmful to the environment and your wallet.
Britons spent £1.9 billion pounds on ready meals last year, more than any other major European country and as a nation we produce more than 34.85 million tonnes of trash per year. And yet only one third of our plastic packaging is recycled.
Interestingly, researchers at the University of Manchester found that a ready-made, shop bought sandwich has roughly twice the carbon footprint of its homemade counterpart. The worst offender being the “breakfast sandwich” which generates 1441 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent, this is equivalent to the CO2 emissions created from driving a car 12 miles.
But here’s the good news, there are some simple steps you can take to help reduce your carbon footprint as well as your grocery bill.
- Organise your fridge and cupboards; adopt a “first in, first out” approach, put new foods at the back of the fridge and bring older foods to the front. Mark food containers with the date when you first opened them.
- Plan your meals for the week ahead, before your grocery shop, so you only buy what you need, and don’t start impulse buying!
- Set aside time at the weekend to make healthy homemade meals to portion out into freezer containers for the week ahead.
- Bring raw fruit and vegetables to nibble on while out and about.
- Try to eat less packaged and processed foodstuffs, where you can.
Or why not try out some of our great tasting recipes below, you might be pleasantly surprised!
So, give them a go and have some fun. Cooking your own meals will not only taste better, but think about how great you’ll feel creating something fresh and new from scratch.
You can also pledge to eat more homemade meals at www.coolfood.net to make a difference for the environment.