For author, scientist and mom Anita Vandyke, a zero-waste lifestyle means much more than being mindful of food and packaging waste. While those things are crucial, Vandyke’s new book, A Zero Waste Family in Thirty Days (Apollo, 2022), is a comprehensive guide to bringing peace into our home lives through simplifying. Here, she shares tips from the grocery and cooking portions of her book, plus her top family-friendly tips for reducing waste in the kitchen.
How families can reduce their use of plastic and still enjoy convenient, kid-friendly foods (like bars) and snacks.
Apple, mango and other fruits dried in a dehydrator can be stored in air-tight glass jars and packaged in reusable silicone bags, Vandyke says. She also loves buying nuts in bulk and making her own trail mix with the dried fruit. “These snacks are easy to grab and go,” she says. “Whole fruits and vegetables that have been sliced up can also be put into silicone bags or a reusable container.”
How to engage kids in zero-waste efforts.
“I love baking with my children,” Vandyke says. “Getting them involved in the kitchen is a great way to educate them on where your food comes from, the effort required to make a meal and how to prevent food waste.” She also upcycles jars to make her own bath products. “I’ve chosen to replace all my exfoliants with a DIY sugar scrub that costs less than $1 to make,” she says.
How to organize your kitchen to reduce food waste.
Most of us have hoarded food over the years, Vandyke says, more food than necessary even for emergency situations. Her recommendation: If you have too many cans of chickpeas, start looking up recipes to use them up. If you have too many boxes of pasta, start using them in pasta bakes and other large meals. See it as a new challenge to eat down your stores and start afresh with a clean pantry. Also, make an “eat first” box that you place on the top shelf of your fridge with items close to their use-by date.
Buy What You Believe In.
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