Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Green Living day 20: cook from scratch

cute cooking graphic

Cooking from scratch is a Greener way to eat.

1. Less Packaging
Convenience foods just use more packaging. So, cooking from scratch generates less waste.

2. Less Expensive
In general, you can cook less expensively from scratch than to buy a convenience food. You are paying more for the “convenience” of not having to cook.

3. Healthier and known Ingredients
This is a HUGE thing…
Ever looked at an ingredient list on a box of prepared food? Are you familiar with what everything is?
Take Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix:
Ingredients: Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Blueberries Canned In Light Syrup (Blueberries, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Vital Wheat Gluten, Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Salt, Propylene Glycol Monoesters of Fatty Acids, Mono and Diglycerides, Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Citric Acid, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Flavor, Modified Cream.
To this you would add milk, vegetable oil and eggs from your own kitchen.
Here’s a recipe for blueberry muffins from scratch:
Ingredients: 2 Cups all purpose flour, 1/2 Cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 Cup milk, 1/3 Cup oil, 1 egg, 1 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries.

4. Avoid allergic reactions
This may not be an issue for most of you, but as a mom who has a son with several food allergies-cooking from scratch is a guarantee that there are no hidden allergens. And, even if food allergies are not an issue for your family , it’s important to avoid ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and food dyes. When you cook from scratch, you are rest assured you are not feeding these to your family.

5. It just tastes better
Even before food allergies were an issue, I have been cooking from scratch. I really feel like it just tastes better and I like knowing what it is we are consuming. I don’t think you have to be some fantastic cook, either. If you can follow a recipe-you can cook great meals. And, cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming; I often use recipes from Rachel Ray’s magazine or Every Day Food which have a lot of 30 minute or so meals.

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