When you live in Sweden and you don’t have much but potatoes and carrots around, you get bored. I am the first to admit that living entirely without imported foods can’t be fun and sometimes, I wish I lived in a warmer climate where I could eat fruit like kiwi, mango and pineapple to my heart’s content. It is said that you can sustain yourself entirely on potatoes but that doesn’t mean you should. Or want to.
I still have to get a lot better at eating foods that are easier grown in Sweden and preferably those that do not require a greenhouse which need a lot of energy to function. This can make a tomato that has been allowed to ripen naturally in the sun in Spain and then exported emit less carbon dioxide than a tomato grown in a greenhouse. So even though location isn’t everything, it’s still an important factor and I believe that if we have the means, we should try to do something about it.
I promised myself a while ago that I would get better at eating local and seasonal, but I have not exactly done my best on that point. Partner and I still eat a lot of bananas and frozen mangoes in our breakfasts (smoothie for me and overnight oats for him). That’s because most of the year, it’s not so easy to get “fun” fruits and berries produced in Sweden and once you can find these, they’re typically a lot more expensive than the same produce grow elsewhere.
So I’m definitely not fully doing what I said I would. That’s why I have devised a little list of things you can do to increase the amount of locally and seasonally grown produce, if you find yourself struggling with this like me.
Five tips to increase the amount of locally sourced, seasonal foods you eat:
Make a weekly plan of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and base your meals on local, seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Then, really try stick to that plan.
you decide for yourself how much is possible according to your budget etc. We don’t all have the means to always get the most expensive food, even though it might be better for the environment. Do what you feel you can and don’t start too difficult. It’s supposed to be a challenge but you’re still supposed to have fun.
Try new things and identify what you like (and don’t like!)
Maybe there are things that you didn’t even think you’d like just because you never tried it and maybe because you were stuck in a routine of the same dishes for a long time. Maybe there are even things you didn’t know could be grown where you live. This might sound stupid, but up until a few years ago, I had no idea that we could grow black beans, black-eyed peas and other fun legumes in Sweden. Maybe you’ll end up finding that something you really like can be grown where you live.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Allow yourself to include products that are neither local nor seasonal. Like I said, it’s not necessarily fun to always be perfect and this list is supposed to change how you eat but also keep it fun. The element of fun will immediately go away if you force yourself too much.
Bulk up on cheaper ingredients (such as beans, oats etc.) that can be grown locally to have more money left over for other, maybe more exciting, foods.
Try growing your own vegetables
Sadly, on my 43 square meters, I don’t have any place where I can grow things. But maybe you do?
If I can give a tip for something to grow I would recommend you get some herbs you like. Herbs can really bring a dish to a whole new level and sometimes, only a few stalks are enough to make your dish look and taste super nice!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any additional tips!