Plastic-Free July Eco-Challenge, Day 28- Meal Prep Like a Conservation Boss, Part 2

A great way to bridge our efforts with conservation to the success of achieving fitness is eliminating plastic from our diet. No, not like EATING plastic, but the consumer choices we make which involve plastic.

Plan to Succeed

One of my favorite connections in conservation fitness is meal prepping. This one simple action has such a drastic and significant effect on our health and the environment. It’s multifaceted. Meal prepping keeps us from eating junk in the form of fast and convenient food-like substances. We automatically eat healthier when we cook at home, mostly because WE control the ingredients. I’m serious. If you made a PIE from scratch, it would be healthier and more sustainable than buying one from the store.

Oh, he can have THIS! No problem. Do you see what I’m dealing with?

But meal prepping also does wonders for our plastic-reduction efforts, too. When we make our own meals, we decide what goes into our food. We shop for the food ourselves, and we can choose food products not wrapped in plastic.

When most people think of meal prep, they envision what we talked about yesterday- preparing many meals at once, ahead of time. But there are other ways to meal prep. Today, I want to focus on another way to avoid the fast food and convenient food-like substance dungeons. Let’s talk about meal planning.

Success is in Order

Meal planning helps eliminate the impulse buys while you are at the supermarket. And it keeps us on the straight and narrow throughout the week. Instead of wondering what you should have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you have it laid out before you.

The first thing to do is create your menu for the week. This is the perfect time to discover new cuisine and recipes to try*. If you’re curious about a certain eating lifestyle, you can look online to find recipes which peak your interest. The library is a great resource as well.

Once you have found several recipes you want to try, it’s time to create week’s menu. I like to use an engagement calendar to write what I plan to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the side bar, I write what snacks I want to make for the week.

After deciding WHAT to eat, I figure out what I need to buy for what I want to eat. Going through the recipes again, I jot down any ingredient I don’t have on hand. I must add here, I’ve been doing this for a while. Usually, I base what I want to make on what I have on hand already. That way, I only have to get a minimum amount of ingredients. I also have a pretty big stock of bulk dry foods which I use in recipes fairly often. This step is what makes meal planning and meal prepping so helpful at the grocery store. Make your list, check it twice. Figure out if everything on that list is “naughty” or “nice”.

Shopping Like a Boss

Finally, go to the store. Use your list. Get ONLY the items on your list. When you have an option, choose the food items which are not wrapped in plastic. If you have the choice between a head of romaine lettuce, or a bag of prepared salad, go for the head of lettuce. It takes 2-3 extra minutes to chop the lettuce than to open the plastic bag. But that plastic bag will take centuries to breakdown.

If you’re tempted to buy items not on your list, like cookies, chips, or pizza, remember our bright lines. I use these every day in the store. “If it’s not on my list, and it’s wrapped in plastic, I do not buy it.” This single mantra, paired with the action of writing a shopping list, has saved me from buying so much crap I don’t need. And guys, I know I often sound like a superhero with the willpower of Captain America, but I really don’t. I fight cravings ALL THE TIME. It’s these little tips which make me the Eco-Fitness-Wonder-Woman I strive to be.

So, prepare your menu for the week, and prepare for a successfully uplifting week. It’s a great way to feel good about the food you eat, and your impact on the environment.

 

*Not that I’m into shamelessly promoting myself, but a GREAT way to experience new eating lifestyles or recipes is with my book ZooFit Safari, coming August 2019. Five weeks, five completely different menus. Complete with meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes. It’s a one-stop experience to find what works best for you, while improving your environmental impact. Sign up for my newsletter to receive updates, be first to know about new releases, and receive special deals.

 

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