Grilling Green: 10 Tips for Summer Eating
Are those plastic silverware, cups and plates laying sadly in the garbage at your recent summer picnic bothering you? Even if you are a more casual green or organic consumer, it's likely you can't help but cringe at the sight and think, there has to be a better way?
Well there is and earth-friendly grilling isn't as far out of reach as it may seem. Here are a few practical tips that increase your grilling consciousness, without decreasing your picnicking pleasure:
1. Anticipate. Think about how many people will be eating and buy food and drinks to that number. You save money and save yourself from eating cold, soggy dogs the next day.
2. Be Specific. If you're having guests and they wish to bring something, tell them what to bring. Not only will your guest be relieved that they don't have to guess, but you won't have any wasteful repeats of macaroni salad.
3. Forget Plastic. So it takes a little more clean-up effort, but there's no extra cost in using the serving dishes, plates, dishes and silverware that you already own, not to mention our landfills will thank you.
4. Eat veggies. Yes, meat is a staple of most grilling adventures, but consider eating less of it. The amount of energy it takes for meat to meet your grill is dramatically higher than produce in most case, especially if you seek out local, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables. It's healthier, cheaper, adds variety to your meal and saves on your carbon footprint.
5. Drink Organic. Instead of the sodas and juice boxes, try organic beverages like Steaz. Not only are our drinks organic, fair-trade and vegan, but they contain less sugar.
6. Fuel Naturally. Gas grills now seem standard to American outdoor eating, but other fuel options exist, like all-natural charcoal or wood briquettes. Check out Cowboy Charcoals found nationally at Lowe's or the 365 Everyday Value brand at Whole Foods.
7. Close it. When you're grilling, keep the hood closed to save energy and shorten cooking times.
8. Cook at Medium. While some of us like the flavor, charring meats can create toxic chemicals, so cook at a medium heat and remove any charred portions before eating. Too, marinating the meat helps reduce toxins.
9. Reheat. After you've finished cooking, reuse the grill to keep foods warm or reheat baked goods/desserts.
10. Recycle & Compost. When you're done, handle your trash just as you would in your home. Separate glass, plastic, metal and compostable food scraps.
Hmmm, after all this talk of food, wouldn't Grilled Salmon Soft Tacos, Bruschetta with Tomatoes or Grilled Apples with Cheese & Honey be good right about now? Take a look at these healthy grilling recipes and feel free to share your own green grilling tips and discoveries. We'd love to hear from you!
Sources reviewed for research: Planet Green and The Daily Green