When most people say they want to live a sustainable lifestyle, they switch a few habits. They might bike to work or recycle more often, but there's always more you can do. Some people forget to look at what they eat, which is a massive part of living an eco-friendly life.
People who live and work on a farm come face-to-face with the reality of how corporations mass-produce food. It might lead you to run a sustainable farm, which gives you control over how you care for your animals and what you feed them.
What happens when you explore the world of seafood? You don't need to give up your green lifestyle to enjoy a new menu. Read about these traditional seafood sides and how they can fit your personal beliefs about living sustainably.
1. House Salad With Dressing
It's easy to pair a house salad with just about any entree you make. Buy organic produce at your local supermarket or grow the ingredients on your farm. You can also avoid plastic bottles by making your dressing with ingredients like olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Try out different recipes to see which you like best and use them the next time you serve seafood.
2. Black Beans and Rice
Beans might not be the first food that comes to mind when you picture yourself serving seafood, but it pairs naturally with any kind of fish. Black beans and rice with a little cilantro taste fantastic with seared salmon, especially if you use a homemade glaze.
There's an ecological benefit to cooking beans, as well. They absorb nitrogen while they grow, converting it into ammonia for the plants around them. Too much nitrogen in the atmosphere creates excess amounts of ozone, which hurts the environment and makes it harder for humans to breathe. Funding the bean industry reduces this pollution and ensures you eat something sustainable.
3. Clam Chowder Soup
On cold winter nights or chilly fall afternoons, you can pair soup with seafood for a well-rounded meal. You really can't go wrong with any variety, although clam chowder is a traditional staple at seafood restaurants.
Make a pot of clam chowder after you choose farm-harvested clams, which are sustainable because they don't depend on an ocean habitat. Traditional clam harvesting requires hydraulic dredges, which disrupt the ecosystem on the ocean floor.
4. Mac and Cheese
If you're looking for a seafood side that will please everyone from kids to adults, you should make mac and cheese. It has a low environmental impact and tastes wonderful alongside lobster, no matter how you make it.
Whip up a homemade recipe with cheese from your farm or look for sustainable companies for your main ingredient. Pour the sauce over whatever you like for pasta, whether you prefer organic elbow noodles or spiralized zucchini.
5. Corn on the Cob
For more relaxed meals with friends and family, serve corn on the cob alongside any seafood dish. You can use different spices on the boiled cobs or fry them for an extra crunch.
Corn is mass-produced all over the world, but you can easily grow it on your farm. It's affordable to plant and retains low levels of nutrient removal after you harvest it, so you can replant on the same soil without adding chemical fertilizers.
6. Organic Veggie Fries
Fish filets might sound great with french fries, but if you don't make them at home, you're funding an industry that spends 60% of its budget on energy usage alone. Skip the carbs in white potatoes and make veggie fries instead.
A recent study found that vegetables had the least environmental impact compared to starchy foods like potatoes. Make them from the veggies on your farm, neighboring farms or an organic grocery store to minimize the environmental impact of what you make.
Think Outside the Box
Whichever traditional seafood side you choose for your next big meal, you don't have to give in to unsustainable companies or foods to make them happen. Create dishes out of produce from your farm or companies with sustainable business practices. You'll find the perfect recipe to go with your seafood and enjoy it twice as much, knowing it's good for the planet.