We’re coming into the time of year in many parts of the United States when fresh picked vegetables and fruits are on the decline. The fall season does bring about the time for apple picking and gathering of squashes, pumpkins, potatoes, root vegetables and hardy cool-weather greens, but the glory-days of fresh tomatoes, juicy berries, and sweet corn are coming to an end until next year. If eating sustainably is a goal for you and your family, you might wonder what to do as winter arrives. Here are some tips for incorporating fresh and frozen vegetables into your sustainable diet now that cold weather is arriving.
Eating Sustainably: Think ahead and go frozen!
When you have excess produce from your local farmer’s market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), chop, blanch in boiling water, and then place into air-tight containers or zip-lock bags. Also consider stocking up and using frozen vegetables when your favorites are out of season. Keep your eyes open for frozen vegetables that are simply prepared (skip the heavy cream sauces and cheese coated varieties), either plain or lightly seasoned with herbs and flavorful spices such as Tommy’s Superfoods. Selecting Non-GMO Project Verified brands will help ensure that the quality of the food you’re eating is the best available.
Eating Sustainably: Go for a deep freeze!
One of the key points of eating sustainably is making sure that your food is not going to waste. If you find that every week you’re throwing fruits and vegetables into the trash because they are no longer edible, then you will want to find a solution so that you’re not wasting money and food. If you have room in your home, consider buying an extra freezer that could be placed in a basement, garage, or laundry area. Having an extra freezer will give you the space to freeze extra produce when you have it and keep it from going into the garbage. Remember, if you freeze vegetables at the height of their freshness (just like we do at Tommy’s Superfoods!) you’ll hold on to their high nutritional value and good flavor. Once you stop throwing food away and begin preserving it, you may find that your weekly grocery bills will decrease.
Eating Sustainably: Get those vegetables cooking!
Part of eating sustainably is eating more vegetables. Make vegetables the most important thing you cook every day or every other day and then use them in your dinner, lunch, and even breakfast! Prepare a batch of seasoned vegetables and keep them ready to go in the refrigerator to use as a side-dish for dinner, tossed into rice, pasta or quinoa, added into a soup, stew, or scrambled eggs, or even thrown into a wrap for a quick lunch or snack. If you’re looking for suggestions, you’ll find recipes at www.tommys.staging.wpengine.com/recipes. You will find dozens of easy to prepare recipes using Tommy’s frozen vegetable blends and fresh vegetables from the market.
Eating Sustainably: Beans, grains, and vegetables are great meat alternatives!
Eating less meat is part of following a sustainable diet and fortunately, finding alternatives to meat are easier than ever before. If you look in the freezer section of your grocery store, chances are you’ll find veggie burgers and sausages, as well as soy and tempeh alternatives for chicken, bacon, deli meats, and more. In addition to these packaged, or pre-made meat alternatives, you can also make your own using beans, grains and vegetables. Swap a marinated portobello mushroom for a burger, use eggplant instead of chicken in your favorite pasta. When you do make a meat-based dish, load up on vegetable and grain side-dishes, like salads and soups.
Making changes to your diet or eating habits isn’t always easy, but committing to even one of these suggestions will put you on the path to eating sustainably and in a more nutritious and healthy way. Set a goal to eat more mindfully and then try to infuse sustainable eating into every meal you cook or buy, and every trip to the grocery store. When you make slow and steady changes, you’re more likely to stick with your goal and reap the full benefits of feeling healthy and leading a more environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle.