How to Make Your Valentine’s Day Meals More Sustainable

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"Love Valentine's Day and going all out for sustainable swaps? Here's how to make your meals more eco-friendly."

The saying “the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach” is pretty much always true, but it’s especially accurate on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re cooking for your significant other, friends, family, or yourself, everyone deserves a good Valentine’s Day meal. However, something equally as important as showing our loved ones we care is showing we love them with eco-friendly options.

First, start by checking out these recipes. Then follow along to learn how to have a sustainable Valentine’s Day. 

1. Pick Up Local Ingredients and Decor

lemon fruit on basket

Shopping local gives you high-quality food, benefits local supply chains, and positively impacts the environment by minimizing food miles. Not to mention, it’s a much more personalized experience.

When it comes to gifts, groceries, and decorations, try your best to support local businesses. A few ways you can do this is by hitting up your local farmers’ market, thrift stores, and non-chain grocery stores. And, as always, use what you have first. That red tablecloth you used for Christmas can easily be repurposed for Valentine’s Day, helping the planet and your pockets.

Now for the best part: the food. Navigating holiday-specific recipes with the planet in mind can be tricky. Lucky for you, we have some suggestions on how to make delicious and sustainable Valentine’s Day meals.

2. Prep the Perfect Eco-Friendly Breakfast in Bed

sustainable valentine's day

For breakfast, the possibilities are endless. Take pancakes, for example. All pancakes are naturally vegetarian. You can also use applesauce instead of eggs to make a veganized version. Top your stack with fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate chips and they’ll be melt-in-your-mouth good. There are also vegan pancake mixes available, like those from Birch Benders or Thrive Market.

If you’re part of the .001% of the population that doesn’t like pancakes, don’t worry—there are still many other options available. Biscuits, omelets, cinnamon rolls, and so many more breakfast staples are naturally vegetarian (and can be veganized, too). And if you’re cooking meat, you can look into ethically-sourced options from brands like Thrive Market or ButcherBox.

3. Make Easy-to-Assemble, Eco-Friendly Charcuterie Boards

sliced strawberries and sliced vegetables on brown wooden table

When it comes to lunch and dinner, there’s a plethora of directions you can go in. However, as big fans of grazing boards, we’re going to talk about how to make a sustainable option.

Start by trying to find ethical and locally-sourced ingredients and/or products to build your dream grazing board. Add bread or crackers (or, let’s be honest, both) and a vegan cheese from brands like Daiya, Miyoko’s Creamery, and Field Roast. Then finish things off by piling on the nuts, fruit, veggies, and vegan dipping sauces. You can even get extra fancy and make it heart-shaped.

4. Whip Up a Delicious Dessert

sustainable Valentine's Day

Dessert is the best part of Valentine’s Day, hands down. And many traditional desserts are already vegetarian. If you want something store-bought, there are millions of pre-made desserts ranging from Trader Joe’s Heart-Shaped Macarons (so cute!) to Taza Chocolate’s True Love Trio Boxes. If you’re a baker, there are plenty of homemade options you can make, too.

Vegan cakes are easy to make, delicious, and sustainable. One recipe that comes to mind is a vegan red velvet cake. You can easily substitute the egg, buttermilk, and butter for vegan options like coconut oil. Another crowd favorite is vegan banana bread. Extra bonus: It’s also a great way to use overly-ripe bananas.

If baked goods aren’t your thing, vegan or ethically-sourced chocolates can make anyone’s day. Thrive Market’s Organic Chocolate Truffles are a great option, and there are surely great finds at your local grocery store as well. Sustainable Valentine’s Day, here you come.

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

Love Valentine's Day and going all out for sustainable swaps? Here's how to make your meals more eco-friendly.

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