Snacking Sustainably : 11 Snack Hacks to be More Sustainable 

sustainable-snack-tips. WilcoWellness

 

Snacking Sustainably :

Chips, granola bars, and fruit snacks come

wrapped in plastic (which NEVER goes away).

In this blog, learn how to reduce waste while snacking.

Does supermarket waste drive you bonkers? Good. It should! Negative publicity and consumer demand for plastic-free veggie and fruit are creating a ripple across American grocery stores and supermarkets. Slowly but surely, change – big, I might add, is happening. It’s quite encouraging either way.

In this blog, we hope to raise awareness about a topic that doesn’t get too much direct attention. One that is worse for the environment, for animals, and for humans. It’s food waste.

Before diving deep into my hacks to reduce food waste at home, you’ll need to understand why consumer awareness in Western countries is vital.

 

Snacking Sustainably – Are you aware of the dangers of plastic? 

If we hope to prevent 80 billion lbs. of food from going to USA landfills each year, we need to discuss how grocery stores’ unethical practices are leading to vast quantities of edible food being wasted.

Nearly 40% of plastic created each year comes from the packaging of single-use products. These products are typically only used one time before they’re thrown away and forgotten. It’s easy not to think that it makes much of a difference.

If you have the privilege of not living so close to a landfill, it may be easier to pretend your garbage doesn’t have a global impact.

 

LANDFILLS ARE RUNNING OUT OF ROOM!

Landfills are running out of space, and trash companies want to expand the limit on how high they can stack garbage. Think the more garbage being processed, the more money in their pockets. Unfortunately, people that live near these landfills have to deal with the views, and it’s quite unsightly.

What’s the problem? People create garbage. It’s not only in the Wilco area; it’s all over the world. According to the EPA, the average American citizen produces around 5.91 lbs. of trash, with about 1.51 being recycled. As an average, that’s about 4.40 lbs. of daily waste per person. If you’re a family of 4, that is 17.7 lbs. of trash per household per day and over 123 lbs. bs per week!

If families could cut back on one pound per person per day, it means that a family of four’s waste would be nearly down to 96 lbs. in a week. That is huge! However, we need to think big picture. What if we could get our community to reduce waste?

 

Snacking Sustainably – What does it mean to be “sustainable?”

While “zero waste” is impossible, “low waste” is achievable. We don’t need a million people doing “zero waste” or even “low waste” perfectly. We need a million people trying to cut back their waste. Sustainability means avoiding the depletion of our natural resources in order to maintain a good ecological balance. There is no Planet B. We must take care of the one we have. It’s not that difficult to make a few conscientious decisions to help the bigger picture. Establishing a slightly-altered routine would be ideal for helping reduce our global garbage problem.

 

While there are many ways to reduce waste, this blog is about limiting waste with a focus on snacks!

Individually packaged snacks have got to go! Try limiting purchase.

Snacks! Yum, I love snacks. You love snacks. We all love snacks, but it’s unfortunate that they come all tangled up in plastic packaging, which is one of the worst waste generators around. Think about all the goldfish, granola bars, and fruit snacks – all wrapped in single-use plastic! While some packaging can be recycled at home, most of it can’t!

The following suggestions will help give you ideas for how to reduce the amount of food packaging you buy (and therefore throw away) and ideas for how to store snacks without wastefulness.

Note: We do understand that some food packaging is unavoidable, and sometimes lower bargain prices and availability in our area will dictate final choices. Remember, “zero waste” isn’t all or nothing. We encourage you to do the best you can with what you have! That’s all anyone can really do!

 

Invest in Containers!

Investing in alternative containers is a must, especially if you are serious about reducing single-use plastic. Think about where you typically bring snacks. Do you have children? Do you need to snack on the way home from work? There are so many options that can be custom-fit to your needs.

First off, saying that we love stasher bags is an understatement. What’s a word that means more than love? Silicone Stasher bags replace Ziplock bags, seal incredibly well, and can be put in the microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and oven. They’re absolutely incredible.

The price of stasher bags might lag your decision to purchase, but try grabbing one of the smaller versions, and you’ll be hooked soon enough. There are many “like stashers” on the market, but I promise they’re not worthy of your time.

Another alternative would be to grab beeswax wrap, which is an alternative to plastic cling wrap. You can make yourself or purchase from an eco-friendly store. The beeswax wrap is awesome because it’s natural and reusable while sealing containers of any shape.

Additionally, I want to recommend reusable produce bags. As obvious as it should sound, I want to recommend reusable produce bags. There’s no point in going to the grocery store with intentions of reducing your waste if taking home little plastic bags happens every time.

 

How to reduce individual packaging? 

While at the grocery store or farmers market, search for whole foods. Why? Many of these nutritious foods come low-waste and healthy to snack on.

Skip the little plastic bag that helps “keep them together” in your buggy, and consider bringing reusable produce bags.

When you get home from the market, consider prepping your veggies and fruits for meals right away. For example, chop up tomatoes and onions for an upcoming taco meal (and compost the rest). Storing prepared carrots and celery in water in the fridge can help keep them crispy, fresh, and ready to eat. These snack hacks save time, money and earn big “eco-points.”

You can totally use Stasher bags when grocery shopping. If you plan on freezing a product – like meat or veggies, consider filling your stashers with the product, purchasing and directly tossing it into the fridge. It really is more convenient! There’s a “tar weight” written on the side of the bags that the cashier can subtract for the total weight of your products.

 

Reduce waste in Dairy

Let’s be honest! Between all the cheese, milk, and yogurt, Dairy is a big part of a child’s life. Unfortunately, most dairy products come in single-use plastics.

  • DIY: If you’re feeling brave enough, consider making your own dairy products, like yogurt. Not only can you control what goes into the product, but it helps the environment.
  • Cheese: Cheese doesn’t have to be a big “no-no!” Some ways to reduce waste with cheese are to bring in your own stasher bag or beeswax wraps at the deli. Ask them to put your cheese in these helpful products to cut back waste. If this is not ideal, consider purchasing cheese in bulk and slicing off individual servings for snacks.

 

Make & Bake at Home

Snacks made in your cozy kitchen are typically healthier and tastier than store-bought! Not only can we avoid preservatives by using whole grains, but I’m also able to control how much sugar goes into our delicious snacks. In fact, whipping up homemade granola bars and crackers are a staple in our home. Get creative by freezing muffins or “power balls” when Snacking Sustainably.

 

Avoid Single-Use Plastic & Wrappers when possible

Remember those beeswax wraps! Those come in very handy when making homemade snacks.

Learn how to make a snack wrap here:

 

Shop in Bulk!

Not all bulk items are created equal. For instance, Costco offers great discounts for bulk items, but most of it comes in individually wrapped items, but in larger quantities.

However, there are some stores locally that will help you reach your zero waste goals.

Suppose you or your kids love a product, like Veggie Straws, and cannot live without them. It’s okay to go to Costco or Sam’s club and purchase these items. It is better to get the bigger bag and sort them out at home (in smaller, non-plastic containers) than it is to buy individual bags.

Outside of big bulk stores, shop around bulk bin stores for home staples. We’re talking flour, nuts, seeds, chocolates, candies, beans, and rice. It’s a good idea to bring your own jars and, and storage stasher bags. Know the tear weight before filing for easier checkout for Snacking Sustainably.

 

Where can I find these products?

Check out Sanctuary Holistic Kitchen in their new location for products you can pick up in Williamson County.

Screw Plastic makes and sells handmade items to help folks begin the journey towards moving a  little closer to Zero-waste Living. Linda is often found at the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market on Saturdays and she has a website you may order from. Follow her on Facebook for great tips.

 

Here is a list of a few of our favorite sustainable companies online where you can find great products, great ideas, and even great gifts:

 

Earth Hero – Not only products but a few books to provide ideas and more simple tips

Nature Bee Beeswax wrapsIt is all about the best beeswax wraps!

Yes Straws – Love a good smoothie or a frozen drink on the beach? Enjoy your favorite beverage with a Yes Straw.

Samba-Sol – Dress up your party to the picnic with a little Samba in your Sol. Beautiful footwear from beautiful people who know how to really be, well,  Snacking Sustainably!

Bambu – Finish up the Party with eco-friendly dishware from Bambu. Non-plastic and certified organic that you can use every day or just for a picnic.

 

If you’re really ready to snack more responsibly without the waste, there are definitely ways to make it happen. When you are stuck in a rut and finding it difficult, reach out to zero waste groups online. We promise that you are not alone in this journey to contribute to Earth’s better health. We believe any attempt at living ‘greener’ is a step in the right direction. Thank you for reading along!

Thank you for Snacking Sustainably!

Ultimate Guide to Farm to Table in Williamson County

Farm to Table Guide WilcoWellness

Total body health and wellness begins with the foods we eat

Everyone measures success differently; while some measure success in the things they own, others measure success in travels, laughter, and friendships. But if there’s just one factor that we can all agree on, it is most certainly health. After all, we won’t enjoy anything else in life if our health is compromised.

Total body health and wellness starts with the foods we eat; unfortunately, eating healthy isn’t as simple as picking up produce from the local supermarket. Anytime you choose to purchase fruits or vegetables from the supermarket, particularly those that are not organic, you are at risk of being exposed to harmful pesticides. The concept of Farm-To-Table manifested both to promote overall health and to bring economic stability and self-reliance to communities.

How is Farm-To-Table different from what we are doing now?

The farm-to-table movement promotes the delivery of food straight from the farm to your dinner table. The produce we purchase at many big chain supermarkets ships from farms to distribution centers where it is stored before being shipped across the country to various grocery stores. With cross-country distribution, much time elapses between the harvest and the product’s placement on grocery store shelves.

Food quickly loses its freshness and nutritious value in the journey to reach our dinner tables. The farm-to-table movement’s goal is to eliminate the middleman and re-establish the connection between farmers and the people in their community. Instead of using preservatives and non-GMOs to keep food fresh longer, food is eaten sooner while it is still fresh.

The History of Farm-To-Table

The history of the farm-to-table movement begins with industrialization, as people moved away from the farms and into the city to find jobs. With more people in the cities, the 1950s saw a boom in food processing and storage, particularly with canned food items and frozen dinners.

In the 1970s, people started to demand a return to nutritious, natural eating. The Texas Department of Agriculture was the first state to certify an Organic Label for Produce. It was during the Jim Hightower administration that Susan Kaerka, a representative for the TDA went and spoke with the California Growers Association and reported, “they were fascinated with the idea that the state of Texas was interested in  bringing the power of the state behind a state-certified Organic Label for produce, they were just shocked by that.”  Fast-forward to the 2000s, when schools pushed to use locally-grown foods in cafeterias, and people demanded to see “Non-GMO” labeled food products. By 2010, plant-based restaurants were growing in popularity. Since then, the movement has only become more mainstream.

Texas State Organic Label

 

What are the Core Principles of the Farm-To-Table Movement?

Beyond eliminating the middleman and strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers, the farm-to-table movement is built on several core principles:

#1 – Food Security

By developing local food systems, the entire community is strengthened. Low-income families receive the same access to healthy, organic food that the wealthier are. The principle of food security looks at how the community as a whole can benefit. Because food production, processing, distribution, and consumption all occur within the same community, there are more jobs within the community and more healthy meals for everyone.

#2 – Proximity

Keeping food production and distribution local reduces the environmental impact and forges connections within the community. Rather than purchasing food items from mass producers, restaurants build relationships with the farmers they buy directly from. In doing so, they reduce the carbon footprint of mass distribution, but it also puts the money right in the hands of local farmers.

#3 – Self-reliance

This component of the movement encourages communities to work together in meeting food needs rather than looking to outside resources. In doing so, people can reconnect with one another along with the very earth that is tilled in their communities as well.

#4 – Sustainability

The farm-to-table movement encourages people to support locally-grown organic food and to purchase only that which is needed. When national distributors haul massive amounts of food across the country, not everything makes it to the destination without spoiling. Distributors end up tossing large quantities of products regularly. By cutting out the middleman, less food goes to waste, and more fresh food reaches tables.

How the Farm-To-Table Movement Benefits Your Health

The sooner food is consumed after the harvest, the more nutritious that food is. Most fruits and vegetables lose upwards of 30% of their nutritious value just three days after it is harvested, and that number increases with ensuing each day. By purchasing food from local farmers, food is consumed shortly after the harvest and consumed while still fresh.

Furthermore, by purchasing locally, consumers know exactly where their food is coming from and what practices are used to harvest it. The farm-to-table movement gives power back to the people and helps them to make more informed choices about what they eat.

Switching to a Farm-To-Table Lifestyle

Making the switch begins with a little research, a little exploration, and a plan of action. Moving to a farm-to-table lifestyle entails eating what’s in season, and that’s exactly what you will find at local farmer’s markets. In embracing this, start by researching what produce is in-season where you live and finding new recipes that utilize those seasonal food items. Next, learn more about the farmer’s markets near you, along with farm-to-table restaurants that you can trust to serve natural, seasonal food.

Farmers Markets in Williamson County, Texas

Williamson County hosts numerous farmer’s markets every week, which means that your farm-to-table lifestyle can start right away. To find a farmers market nearby, check out our directory of Farmers Markets, and make sure to save a date in your itinerary to dine at Greenhouse in Round Rock, where you will be sure to find inspiration for your locally-grown seasonal recipes. Finally, establish a relationship with a local farmer in Williamson County from whom you can purchase products directly. You won’t just be eating cleanly and confidently, you’ll be making a new friend in your community, and that’s what farm-to-table is all about!

We also recommend a few Farm to Table restaurants in your town:

Farm to Fork in Leander – Texas Southern Homestyle cuisine with a little French flair in a new location – Yep, the Texas winter blizzard zapped the pipes, and Farm to Fork is in the process of relocation. New atmosphere and more great local food to come. Watch their posts for grand reopening! 

Mouton’s -cajun and country fusion cuisine A very cozy Southern Style Bistro serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, In Leander and Cedar Park. 

2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar in Georgetown – Chef Jaime and Chef Luis’ will never let you down! Always ready to share where they picked up their local cuisine and flair. Live music and a great patio – need we say more.

The Grove wine bar /Kitchen – Located in Cedar Park, this fabulous little joint serves up American Fare paired with an extensive wine list. Stop by for a few tasty happy hour bites and a fantastic meal paired with your favorite glass, bottle, or flight of wine.

Foxhole Culinary Tavern tucked in between North Austin and Cedar Park just off 183/Lakeline rd.   A small sample of one of their many specials is social hour 3-6:30 p Tues – Friday featuring Tavern Tacos, Ponderings, flatbread snacks, and more.

Plowman’s Kitchen – A favorite spot in Taylor, serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, this family-owned restaurant has the best menu and collection of foodie love.

Be Kind to Good Strangers Cafe in Taylor, Texas – a great little lite breakfast and sandwich Café on W. 2nd street. Stop by for a bite or order online for the office lunch treat.

Inspirational Links:

Farm to Table Tx  Delivers to restaurants from local farmers all over central Texas

https://www.greenmatters.com/food/2017/05/03/ZlGaIU/farm-to-table

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/postdetails.cfm?post=1532