Sourcing and Preparing Healthier Meals

 

Cookery clubs in Greenwich
Cookery clubs in Greenwich

There are loads of ways you can get yourself and your family involved in Good Food, no matter what your circumstances.  By making small changes, you can see big benefits to your health, wallet and the environment.

 

Cook more meals from scratch

One of the best things you can do for Good Food is to cook from scratch.  It doesn’t have to be every day – even if you do it occasionally, you’ll see changes to your health and wallet.

But, if you don’t know how, don’t despair!

A great place to start is at one of the ‘Taste of Health’ Cookery Clubs. These cookery clubs will help develop confidence and skills to start preparing delicious, healthy, affordable meals from scratch. The more you cook, the better you’ll feel!  If you’re interested in finding out more then call 0800 470 4831

Use fresh, seasonal and local ingredients

gleaning

Buying fresh produce in season is a great way to contribute to Good Food.

Seasonal produce is food that is available in the UK at certain times of the year. It’s not always easy to know what’s in season, so use our ‘what’s in season’ guide to find out what to eat and when.

It’s much less likely to have been flown in from thousands of miles away, so it won’t be damaging to the environment, and will be tastier and more nutritious too. It’s often cheaper, and is likely to have come from a more local farmer, so you’re supporting the local economy.

We’ve some fantastic growers in Greenwich like Keats Organic and Woodlands Farm so you don’ t have to go far to get some delicious, ÜBER local food.

Buy certified foods

Another way to support Good Food is by buying certified ingredients such as Fairtrade, MSC – Marine Stewardship Council, Freedom Food.  These certifications assure you that the food has been produced in ways that look after the people and the planet:

  • The Fairtrade stamp shows that product has been bought for a fair price from a co-operative and money is put back into the local community to build wells or schools.msc
  • The MSC stamp means you know that fish has been caught in a sustainable way – a way that looks after future fish stocks and doesn’t damage the environment.
  • The Freedom Food stamp means you know the farms have been checked by the RSPCA and that welfare standards of the animals have been assured.

We’ve done some price comparisons, and found that often certified products are the same price or cheaper than the alternatives.  Have a look the next time you’re out.

Check out Compassion in World Farming’s ‘Compassionate Food Guide’ for a clear explanation of all the different and often confusing food labels on meat. A great resource to help make fairer choices

Try to waste less food, and compost and recycle what you can

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Volunteers at our Surplus Feast, October 2015

Did you know that on average each family throws away £60 in wasted food every month?!  That’s nearly £700 per year!

Wasting food is not only bad for your pocket, but disastrous for the environment as decomposing waste releases harmful greenhouse gases. Combine this with all the energy that went into making the food in the first place, and it’s the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road if we were to just stop wasting food!

There’s loads of information about food waste, but we think the one of the best place for tips, hints and recipes is Love Food Hate Waste.  Or check out our Food Waste info sheet for some handy tips.

Greenwich Council now does curbside food waste collections, and turn food waste into compost.  They also pick up all of your other recycling too, so check to see before you throw anything away whether it can be recycled.

Another great website to check out is Feedback.  They have loads of great information about what’s going on and how to get involved such as joining  a gleaning network, or taking part in their Feeding the 5000 feast event!

Use local producers and independents

Using local producers and shops is more than just good food and a great way to support the local economy; you’ll get stories, passion and real love from these guys too! Greenwich has a few markets like Blackheath Farmer’s Market, Eltham Farmer’s Market and Beresford Square Market Market where you can get affordable, locally grown or produced food. You’ll be helping the environment, and your local community too.

You can also check out Sustain’s Local Food Finder to access locally grown and produced food.

Demand more and better!

Whether you:healthier catering commitment

  • Eat in a local cafe
  • A work canteen
  • Your kids have school lunches
  • You buy from supermarkets

Ask for healthier, more sustainable options.  It makes good business sense to listen to customers, and good ones will do just that.

Ask them for:

  • Some healthier options
  • Where their fish or chicken comes from
  • Whether they have good veggie options
  • Tap water on the table

The more we ask, the more likely they’ll change. And look out for the Healthier Catering Commitment – this shows that the café or restaurant is making changes to offer you more healthy options.

Grow some of your own food

keats organicDoes this seem like an impossibility or too much like the “Good Life”?  Fear not! Everyone who’s anyone is growing their own food these days.

You don’t need a garden – you can chuck a few tomato plants in containers on a windowsill, or grow herbs in pots on a balcony.  Growing your own is a great way to get some delicious food for next to nothing. Herbs and salads are super easy to grow and will save you a fortune. Even better news – gardening has been shown to improve mood and make you fitter!  Check out the Royal Horticultural Society for tips on how to get started.

There are loads of growing projects in Greenwich and many are open to the public – check out GCDA’s flier for all the sites where anyone is welcome!

And check out Haldow College for a long list of fantastic courses from patio gardening, to lawn care, designing a herb garden or making your garden a haven for wildlife – check out the list of training here

Get involved in a local food project

Getting involved with local projects can bring tonnes of benefits. It helps you get to know your local community, get fitter, smile more, feel happier and generally be an excellent person.  If you’re interested in getting involved then get in touch and we’ll sign-post you.  Also, check out our events page for more info about what’s going on such as Big Lunch events and Fairtrade fortnight.

Lobby for change in your locality, and with central government

A bit more tricky, we know; but there are loads of campaigns and petitions you can sign up to to show your support for Good Food in this city. And we can all do our bit to show those in power when we’re not happy with what’s going on!

Sustainable Food Cities has some great ideas for campaigns to get involved with.  Have a look at Sustain; the alliance for better food and farming for even more ideas.

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