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The Big Green Swap: Everyday changes to make your life more sustainable

food, the big green swap: everyday changes to make your life more sustainable

Little changes can add up to a big difference (Picture: Getty Images)

Every week sustainability writer Rae Ritchie tells us the easy switches you can make to household purchases that will help save the planet…

Reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet is one of the most effective ways to lower your environmental impact. Now 35 per cent of us are trying this to lower our food bills too.

Need inspiration on this front? In How To Go Plant-Based: A Definitive Guide For You And Your Family (Yellow Kite, 2022), Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella offers guidance on how adults and children can eat well without animal products – and without meat substitutes.

Mills emphasises getting decent nutrition from vegetables, pulses and beans without making it seem too complicated or intimidating; it can be as simple as picking up a tin of black beans in your supermarket shop.

There are plant-based alternatives to everyday favourites such as lasagne and fajitas plus, with multiple options for pasta sauces, jacket potato toppings and noodle dishes, you can keep your staples varied.

Here are three suggested switches:

Substitute chicken for corn cobs

Meat isn’t the only vehicle for piri piri sauce. This recipe uses corn cobs instead, baked in one pan alongside jacket potato wedges. Less cost, less carbon and less washing up.

Switch mince for aubergine

Garlicky roasted aubergine ragu sounds delicious and is incredibly versatile, going well with spaghetti, jacket potatoes, rice, quinoa, orzo or barley.

Mills promises that it’s ideal for batch cooking and also provides a recipe for a nut-based cheese alternative to sprinkle over it.

Swap bacon for mushrooms

For vegetarians and vegans who miss bacon, Mills has a plant-based dupe: mushrooms.

The B in her BLT stands for balsamic mushrooms, cooked with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and garlic to make them rich and sticky.

Want more low-cost ways to live more sustainably?

Read on below for more recommendations that ease pressure on the planet and on your pocket…

Save carbon, save cash

food, the big green swap: everyday changes to make your life more sustainable

Pick up top green tips from Giki Zero (Picture: Supplied)

Digital platform Giki Zero offers a wide range of challenges that help to reduce your carbon footprint, and in many cases your bills. Cook with saucepan lids on, and you’ll use ten per cent less energy than without.

Make it last

food, the big green swap: everyday changes to make your life more sustainable

Waste not, want not (Picture: Friendly Soap)

Get the most out of whatever you buy by extending its lifespan as much as possible: think double-checking washing instructions and freezing that extra milk.

Even scraps of soap can be used up if you stick them in a Soap Saver hemp bag.

Pick the imperfect

food, the big green swap: everyday changes to make your life more sustainable

It’s not about looks (Picture: Earth And Wheat)

Buying produce that doesn’t meet the usual standards of appearance saves you money and keeps perfectly good food from going to waste.

Look for a wonky fruit and veg range at the supermarket and try the wonky bread boxes from Earth And Wheat.

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