Buying locally-grown produce is made easier by shopping at small green grocers and local markets, but if you’re shopping at a supermarket, all it takes is a little extra research to ensure that you’re shopping seasonally. As well as being a healthier approach (allowing for a varied diet), eating food that’s in season tends to involve a smaller carbon footprint and fewer chemicals: good for your family and for the planet. Shopping seasonally also means your children will be eating the foods that humans have evolved to eat at certain times in the year, and research has found that eating fruits and vegetables that are in season can improve immune function.
Taking the steps to extend the lifetime of your food means less food waste: good for your wallet and for your carbon footprint. Different foods spoil at different rates and in different conditions, so take the time to research how best to store your supplies.
So much of the food we buy pre-prepared and packaged can be prepared more sustainably at home. Foods like beans, chickpeas and lentils can be soaked at home rather than bought in a tin, and staples like passata and stock can be easily made at home too. This is even more relevant with young children: if you have access to a blender, leftover veggies can help reduce your need for pre-made purees and pouches.
Ensuring that leftovers please the whole family is easier than you would expect. Turning leftovers into a whole new meal can be delicious and pretty satisfying – spices and home-made sauces can totally transform last night’s dinner into a tasty lunch for today.
Julia’s latest book – A Year Of Simple Family Food – can be purchased through Pan Macmillan or at most good bookstores.
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