Photo by Susan O'Donnell
According to recent research, eating a plant-based diet can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by at least 0.8 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year. Take steps in this direction on your grill this summer! While veggie burgers offer one replacement for meat, many vegetables are very tasty when grilled directly. Eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and even tofu and polenta can be cut into slabs or rounds, brushed with oil and cooked on the grill. Beets, kale, asparagus, carrots, parsnips, and Portobello mushrooms can all be grilled whole. Brush with oil, turn often, and just slip off the skins of carrots and beets when done. Potatoes and beets can either cook directly over the heat or be wrapped in foil with some olive oil. Enjoy kabobs? Fill skewers with chunks of eggplant, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, and zucchini marinated for a couple of hours in a mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Photo by Susan O'Donnell
When you travel this summer, consider taking along reusable cutlery, water bottle, and a compact shopping bag
Eating while traveling can involve a lot of plastic spoons and forks, bottled water, plastic bags, and straws. Reduce your impact by taking these items with you and declining the plastic. More and more places offer bottle filling stations at water fountains. Soda fountains at rest areas have a water spout making it easy to fill up your own bottle. Bamboo cutlery is light weight and is easily cleaned by wiping. They also come in a handy travel case to make them easy to carry in your backpack or purse. You can find reusable shopping bags made of lightweight nylon that fold into a small sack when not in use.
Using your stove or oven heats your house making your air conditioner work harder and adding to your energy use during the summer. Take that heat outside by cooking on the grill. Or make salads or sandwiches that do not require any cooking.
Make your own healthy summer treats without having to throw away any boxes, plastic wrappers, or sticks. Find the molds that are made of BPA-free plastic and include a reusable stick. Then let your imagination run wild with flavor options! You can simply freeze fruit juice, or puree fresh fruit mixed with a little juice, milk, coconut milk, or yogurt. Try combinations like watermelon-kiwi, honeydew melon with mint, or strawberries and yogurt. Summer treats can be healthy and waste free!