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Cook and Eat Smart

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Food transportation is one of the biggest and fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Ready to eat, packaged food is popular in developed countries as compared to locally grown food. Packaged food and beverage consumption in Europe are projected to grow by three percent a year to 953 billion packages by 2020. In India, locally grown food (vegetables and fruits) produced in nearby rural areas are readily available in local markets, which reduce transportation and packaging requirements. Fresh food is preferred over processed, packaged and artificially preserved food.

Meat consumption leads to a higher demand for land and water. Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in the last ten years. Industrialized countries are consuming increasing volume of meat, nearly double that of developing countries. Nearly 42 percent households in India are vegetarian (do not consume fish/meat/ eggs). The remaining households are less strict vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The per capita meat consumption in India for 2011-13 was 3.3 kg, one-tenth of the global average.

The Indians relish locally and seasonally grown vegetables and freshly prepared food. This avoids waste, ensuring food security and sustainable consumption and also reduces carbon footprint. Diverse food habits exist in different parts of the country-specific to local climate and availability of resources.


  • Use fuel efficient cooking methods.
  • Reduce the flame once the food starts boiling.
  • Use the optimum quantity of water for cooking.
  • Keep all ingredients ready at hand before turning on the gas stove.
  • Soak rice, dal etc. for some time before cooking.
  • Use pressure cooker for cooking.
  • Use fuel efficient biomass cook stoves in rural areas to save wood and time.
  • Make a kitchen garden if you have open space at home, or else a terrace/balcony garden if you do not have land for such use. If you do not have balcony, make a small kitchen garden in the window side or hanging garden in the sun for greenery.
  • Use ‘Mathani’, a wooden hand blender for a small amount of mixing. It is a non-mechanized tool for making buttermilk, lassi, etc.
  • Don’t keep frozen foods at a lower temperature than needed.
  • Switch off kitchen appliances when not needed.
  • Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables available locally rather than frozen/tinned or artificially preserved fruits and vegetables with a view of reducing the environmental footprints of transportation and storage.
  • Cook the quantity of food which you can consume. Extra cooking consumes more energy and results in wastage of food and money.
  • Use smaller burner of gas stove whenever possible.
  • Do not keep idle flame burning.
  • Get the family to eat together. It saves effort and energy on reheating of food.
  • Wait till milk or food cools down before putting it in the fridge.
  • Organic foods are richer in certain nutrients. Buy organic and local food whenever possible. Adopt use of natural/organic ingredients.
  • Do not waste food. Give the leftover, but still fresh food to the needy.
  • Check the date of expiry of food before buying.
  • Carry a reusable bag when shopping. Refuse additional packaging and reuse bags as possible.
  • Try and buy foods with less packaging.
  • Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements.
  • Convert your kitchen waste into manure using a composting unit.
  • Utilize leftover dinner for breakfast, and leftover breakfast as evening snacks by slight modification.
  • Give leftover food to domestic animals like cattle and dogs.
  • Do not throw away the left over food from parties and festivals. Give it to NGOs/ organisations which feed the needy. Think of empty stomachs outside your home.
  • Switch to vegetarian diet as much as possible to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Use fuel efficient cooking stoves.
  • Use solar cookers for cooking.
  • Thaw frozen foods naturally before cooking and microwave

Source : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

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