As the festive season fast approaches, we’re all starting to think about how we’ll celebrate.
It’s the time of year that many of us spend and indeed consume a little more than usual; after all we deserve a little indulgence in these cold winter months!
But have you ever thought about the environmental impact of your Christmas dinner?
Environmental impacts of food
A recent study from Lancaster University has shown which foods are harming or helping the environment.
Buffalo meat had the biggest carbon footprint, closely followed by lobster and household staples beef and lamb.
Farmed animals require lots of food and a large amount of land to graze. Cattle also produce an abundance of methane – which is 23 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide!
Unsurprisingly grains, fruit and vegetables had the lowest environmental impact, along with nuts and pulses.
While we know that swapping our meat-heavy meals with healthy fruit and vegetable dishes is better for the environment, this time of year, salads are out and warming comfort foods are in!
Dr Stephen Clune, from Lancaster University, said: “You would have a hard time arguing that you can replace beef with onions as they serve very different culinary and dietary requirements.
However, it is possible to substitute red meat (beef and lamb) with other meats, or plant-based protein sources such as lentils and nuts that have a lower impact.”
Doing this allows you to still enjoy your winter warmers while being kinder to the environment and guilt free with just a few small substitutions.
Eco winter warmers
Here are our top tips to have an environmentally-friendly winter feast:
- Cut down your carbon footprint by making with meals using local, seasonal produce that hasn’t had to travel very far to reach you.
- Prepare the right amount of food for the number of guests you have. This will cut down on washing up and waste!
- Let people serve themselves, rather than dishing food out. Anything left in a serving dish can be eaten as leftovers, but food left on plates is likely to be binned.
- If you do have any leftovers, make sure you make the most of these in your meals the next day - turkey sandwich with a moist maker anyone?
- Substitute beef and lamb for turkey, rabbit or duck. These red meats can be family favourites, but by making this swap, you could take your weekly carbon footprint from 160lbs of emissions down to 50lbs!
- Tuck into tasty meat alternatives like Quorn, veggie sausages or tofu. Popular winter warming meals like shepherd’s pie and chili con carne can taste just as good vegetarian – this is often the cheaper option as well.
- Who doesn’t love a good cheese board to finish off Christmas dinner? But be careful not to overdo it, cheese has a very high carbon footprint!
- Use clever cooking methods to cut down on energy usage. Simple things like popping a lid onto your pot of soup can really make a difference. This will reduce cooking time, save emissions and you get the added benefit of keeping your energy bills down too!
And for complete peace of mind switch to Good Energy for 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutral green gas – for guilt free cooking over the winter months.
For more information on how to have a green Christmas see our collection of Christmas blogs.