<a href="http://gmagazine.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Nude food: good for me, good for the planet

Shopping for fresh food

Credit: iStockphoto

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Yesterday, for the last day of my nude food challenge I decided to stick with what I already had learned. My breakfast was porridge with apple, my lunch was leftover vegetarian pasta from a meal I'd made from scratch earlier in the week, my dinner was a chicken noodle broth made from scratch as well. I snacked on oranges and drank nothing but water and a coffee (no takeaways here - in a nice ceramic mug!).

I had no rubbish to throw out at the end of the day except for the single plastic bag the chicken my local butcher used. Everything else was recyclable or didn't create have any packaging to start with.

And while I was making dinner, I realised that I should have been tracking my weight while I was doing this challenge! Eating nude food isn't just good for the environment - it gets me away from the over-processed foods I think of as treats. All my usual chocolates and softdrinks are bad for my waistline as well as creating extra landfill.

The time spent cooking from scratch wasn't all that much longer than using packaged food either. It's not that I'm a great cook or anything (Masterchef wouldn't let me past the first auditions, I'm sure!), it's that the so-called convenience foods don't actually save us much time. It's all marketing fluff and nonsense.

Quick oats in a bulk-size recyclable box take *exactly* the same amount of time in the microwave as the individually-wrapped single-serve flavoured sachets. Pre-packaged pasta sauce takes just as long to heat as one you've made from a (recyclable) can of chopped tomatoes and herbs picked fresh from the garden. Using some of that leftover pasta for lunch the next day is quicker and cheaper than buying a deli sandwich.

Isn't that usually the way, though? What's good for us is good for the planet. I've really learned a lot this month - I hope I can keep up the good habits in the future.

How did you go with the challenge? Did you come up with any nifty tricks for avoiding packaging? How nude did your food get?