Plastic Free July Food
Sustainable Living

Plastic Free July: Food

This is my downfall! When I look through my trash and recycling there are so many food containers, wrappers, cartons, bags, and the list goes on. I don’t buy a lot of convenience foods, or so I thought, but looking at my grocery list this week it’s clear that many of the foods I buy are delivered in plastic containers. I generally buy big yogurt containers and do my best to portion out smaller amounts for snacks and baking, but that’s still a plastic container in my bin. We like to eat wraps or quesadillas but where do you find wraps not in a plastic bag? Alison has struggled to identify how to purchase tofu as all brands come in plastic. I thought I was doing a good thing purchasing frozen vegetables so as not to waste food and to reduce trips to the grocery store – but what do they come in? I think you can guess!

Too much plastic packaging!

All of this being said, there are workarounds but they generally involve an exchange of the convenience of purchasing the item vs. finding out how to make it, sourcing ingredients and finding the time to make said items on a regular basis. Taking time to make items I would usually purchase seems that it will take time away from the many other life tasks on my list. I feel like my time is already so limited and I’m sure many can relate!

I’ve been reading Kate Nelson’s book “I Quit Plastics“* and she addresses the extra time inherent in making foods in order to avoid plastics: ” My practice is to make choices that aren’t solely for right now, for today, for my convenience and to reduce time. My practice is to make choices that are in alignment with the world I want to live in and my values. ” So how can we move forward in making daily choices and changes in alignment with goals of plastic reduction? Read on for some inspiration!

How to bring your homemade treats on the go

  • Straws: It’s easy to bring your own reusable straw for when you’re out and about. We were gifted and have been loving Beach Eclectic’s straws with handmade charms! Check out her Etsy store or Instagram feed to see more of her creative designs.
  • Coffee cup: there are lots of options out there! Buy new, buy used, or make do with what you have!
  • Water bottle: Reuse a glass jar or buy a water bottle and bring your water along with you.
  • Beeswax wrap: We’re loving our (local) Abeego food wraps! See how their cotton and beeswax-based wraps can be used to protect and transport your food on their informative and inspiring YouTube channel! We’ve used these wraps for years as mentioned in our recent Kitchen post and were recently gifted some products to share.

Some recipes to try!

Granola bites: I make this recipe often as it’s a great replacement for granola bars.

Crackers: I’ve seen a couple options for crackers that I’m planning to try:
1) Thinly slice a baguette and in the oven on a baking sheet
2) For those of you with a sourdough starter – try these along with me and let me know how it goes!

Iced Coffee: Going to try this recipe when the weather warms up!

Tortillas: I tried this recipe and it was amazing!! It was way faster than I thought it would be and there are some great ideas for several other dishes you can make with your homemade tortillas as well.

Yogurt: I’m still considering how best to source milk in a glass container so that I can try making my own yogurt. Planning to try this one!

Bread: If you don’t have the luxury of a bakery or farmer’s market where you can obtain fresh loaves of bread without plastic packaging, try this recipe! I found it really easy to make and delicious. I had tried to commit to regularly making home made bread earlier this year but gave up because I couldn’t figure out a good way to store it. This time I’ve decided to try out the Abeego food wrap method for bread and will let you know how it goes!

Tofu: Alison is planning to try Plastic Free Mermaid, Kate Nelson’s, tofu recipe found here!

Lemon Sorbet: (no ice cream maker needed)
If you’re looking for a sweet frozen treat with no packaging, Zero Waste Chef has a Lemon Sorbet Recipe that you can make without an ice cream maker! Alison gave this a try and it was delicious. It was incredibly easy, but without the ice cream maker, it did take a long time. Even after 7 hours, the recipe hadn’t quite firmed up enough to be sorbet, though it was still thoroughly enjoyed as its slushier counterpart!

Super Easy Date & Nut Bites
This is a simplified version of many recipes that are out there. It’s one of Alison’s favourite, easy snack to pack on the go!

1 cup soft, pitted Medjool dates
1 cup nuts (I prefer almonds or cashews)
1/2 lime or lemon, juice of

Instructions:
Pulse 1 cup of your preferred nuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped, almost flour-like
Add in 1 cup of dates, continue pulsing until paste begins to form
Squeeze in juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
Continue pulsing until consistency is thick and sticky
Roll into 1″ balls, refrigerate, then enjoy!

How do you reduce your plastic in your kitchen and with your food packaging? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

*This is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases however I only recommend products that I have purchased and use myself! Clicking an affiliate link does not cost you anything, but allows us to earn a small commission.

18 Comments

  • Unwanted Life

    I wish I could live more plastic free than I do right now, but too much food comes wrapped in plastic, and due to my reactive hypoglycaemia, I don’t have much choice in being picky about it if I need a quick glucose fix when my sugar levels tanks. Some supermarkets are making effects to reduce plastic, they’re just not being quick enough about it

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Food is such a challenging area for eliminating plastic and even moreso when there are extra considerations and needs. I wish supermarkets and manufacturers were responding more quickly to the problems as well. Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience!

    • Meera

      This is great! I’m trying so hard to live more plastic free and have recently got into making more of my food items, like you, so I don’t have to buy the packaged product. The one thing Ive found so easy is Hummous! Honestly don’t think I’d ever go back to buying the shop one, bc homemade is actually so quick and easy. Really want to start making my wraps too, so Ill 100% be checking out your recipe! Also buy lots of bulk foods like rice and lentils and put them in jars so I don’t have to keep repurchasing. Honestly loved this post and you’re blog is lovely!

      • A Sustainably Simple Life

        That’s awesome that you are reducing your plastic use too. I’m in agreement on the hummous–it’s so easy to make! I’m looking forward to our bulk sections being open again in our stores. It’s such a good way to reduce waste and save money too. Let us know how the tortillas work out for you, if you do try them! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words πŸ™‚

  • Darina

    These are all great ideas. I love bee wax paper and how useful it is. In my home, we have totally stopped using plastic bottles, we have glass coffee mugs, and all my containers are glass. There are still some things to be done in the future.
    Btw that recipe for bites looks so delicious I will try it soon.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Darina from daramiblog

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s amazing that you’ve been able to eliminate all of that plastic! How inspiring!
      Let us know if you try the bites and how you like them πŸ™‚
      Thanks for commenting!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      We were surprised at how easy this recipe was! Let us know how it goes if you find a chance to try it πŸ™‚
      Thanks for commenting!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Yes, I agree. It’s such a challenging area! Little changes can definitely help though πŸ™‚
      Thanks for commenting!

  • Paige

    I love all of these ideas! When I move out I would love to start using all of these ideas – it’s such a great way to live and reduce the plastic consumption. Thank you so much for sharing x

    Paige // Paige Eades

  • Boomer EcoCrusader

    This has been my observation for Plastic Free July too. Over the last couple of years, I have made a lot of efforts to reduce waste and I am doing well in pretty much every other area but food packaging is the biggest challenge. Thanks for the tips and recipes!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s awesome you’ve been on this journey for a couple years! It’s great to hear from others with similar experiences. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • Mark Crone

    Great ideas and great points. I try very hard to minimize plastic as much as possible. Reuse plastic bags and containers. Refuse plastic where possible. The effort can never stop. Thanks for sharing,

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Reusing items is so important too! Every bit that we do really does make a difference. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • a Life on a Dime

    We’ve done the same with yogurt and snacks. I wish I could recycle the tub, but we can’t around here. I do recycle as many as the bags as I can, but we go through so many tortillas I might as well learn how to make them. I love the customized stainless steel straws!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      The tortillas were surprisingly easy! Let us know how it goes if you do give them a try! πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

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