How to be Eco-Friendly When Cooking

We spend lots of time trying to decide what to eat but we rarely give any thought to how we prepare or cook our food.

From the food you buy to the way it’s cooked and stored, you can save energy, reduce your carbon footprint and keep an eye on your budget in many different ways.

Eco-friendly cooking not only benefits the environment; it’s healthier for you and your family, too. Choosing organic vegetables keeps chemicals out of your body, as well the air, soil and rivers.

So why not give these eco-friendly tips a go…

1. Switch to Eco-friendly Cookware

Purchase only the individual pieces you need instead of buying sets with pots that you’ll never use, and select oven-friendly pieces that can be used for multiple purposes. You should also seek designs with tightly fitting lids so that very little heat energy escapes.

Also, look for cookware made of recycled materials, including handles derived from recycled aluminium. Some manufacturers even offer cookware with handles composed of sustainable materials like bamboo.

2. Chop Small 

How to Cut Vegetables on the Diagonal Tips

Reduce cooking times and save energy and money by simply cutting your vegetables or meat into smaller pieces. You’ll also have smaller, more bite-sized portions on your plate.

3. Cook Smart

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter when we’re taking an ecologically kinder approach in the kitchen. Here are a few things you should think about when cooking:
•  Putting lids on pans can reduce cooking time by up to 40%

•  Ensure pans on a stove just cover the gas burner, with no flames up the sides

• Cook big – a pan’s efficiency is reduced by 80% if it’s only a fifth full

•  For smaller amounts of food microwaves can use up to 50% less energy than a conventional oven

•  Heat water in a kettle and transfer it to a pan once boiled. Kettles use less energy than boiling pans.

4. Cook with residual heat

To reduce energy use when roasting vegetables or baking up a batch of cookies, turn off the oven a few minutes before the recipe indicates. For casseroles and roasts, you can turn it off at least 15 minutes ahead of the time you expect to remove the food. (Always use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness.)

5. Take the temperature

The optimal temperature range for your fridge to reduce spoilt food and wasted energy is 35-38°F (2-3°C); the freezer should be 0°F (-18°C). If your fridge doesn’t have a thermometer, you should purchase one and check it regularly.

6. Go Raw

The BEST Healthy Chicken Caesar Wrap | Healthy Fitness Meals

Enjoy food as nature intended and don’t cook it at all. Salads, wraps and chilled soups are all great ways to eat well.

7. Eat Seasonally

Eating produce in season is tastier, more nutritious, and can be better for the planet. This is because fruits and veg are often harvested near you as a result it cuts down on the carbon footprint from long-distance transportation.

8. Eat Plant-Based Meals

Raising animals for food takes vast amounts of land, water, and energy, and those animals are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Even worse: Global meat production is expected to increase to a whopping 62.6 million tons in 2018, placing an even heavier environmental burden on our planet. With this in mind try and eat plant-based meals as much as possible.

View our vegetarian and vegan recipes available in all our award winning nurseries.

Sugar low menu

At Tops, our menus and recipes are designed to ensure the children have a fully balanced diet with all meals and desserts having reduced sugar. We also run Tops Cooking School, a extra-curricular activity for our children. The cooking workshops are run weekly at our nurseries, for children to learn, make and get excited about food.

To view more eco-friendly cooking tips click here.

Posted in: Advice, General, Sustainability, Tops Cooking School