If food waste was a country…
10 simple things you can do at home to cut down on food waste
- Make a weekly menu. Plan out in advance what you’re going to eat for each meal, and then buy the ingredients that you need.
This doesn’t have to be a rigid set up, you can swap days around
We’ve been doing this for a few years, we get the littles involved so everyone gets a say.And it actually saves us loads of time and money, simply because we’re not wondering round a supermarket debating whether we’ll need cheese, or one cucumber or two…we know.Also we don’t spend ages staring at a cupboard trying to work out what we can put together for dinner, it’s all planned out we just get on. (now I just stare into the cupboard arguing with myself about whether to eat another cookie!)If planning out a a menu every week is akin to pulling teeth, you could have the option of doing 3 or 4 weeks and then just rotating through them. Or just planning Mon-Fri and then going rogue at the weekends ;)But honestly give it a try and you might just find that all the time and money saved makes it worth it…
- Batch cooking. Honestly I’m not very good at this, but I know many people who swear by it.
Basically you set aside some time and cook a big batch of several of your favourite or go to dishes, then freeze them in portions, so they’re good to go when you want them.
- Portion control. I have some serious issues around pasta (and cake) portion control. But in all seriousness, getting used to making the right amount in the first place saves left overs going in the bin, and stops you (me) going back for seconds.
- If you’re not a cook, and rely on ready meals, then learning to cook a couple of staple dishes can save you a lot of time, a lot of money and be healthier for you. It’s also healthier for the planet as there is a lot less packaging.
- There is a lot of evidence to suggest that following a vegan diet is better for the planet. However there are also many arguments to the contrary – that properly managed farms act as carbon sinks and aid the environment. I’m not about to get into the pros and cons of either. So all I will say is that any of the following steps will be steps taken in the right direction, so take any/all that you can.
— Buy as ethically as you can afford.
Whether its meat, eggs, yogurt, cheese…If you can buy free range do so, if you can buy organic do so. We have cut our meat consumption to once sometimes
twice a week, which enables us to buy organic, free range, grass fed and local.
— With fruit and veg, try to buy in season, organic and/ or local where you can.
— With all food buy as locally as possible. Cutting the carbon footprint of your dinner, but also supporting local and often smaller businesses.
— Grow some of your own food if you can. This cuts down on the old food miles massively, of course, but we find it also helps with waste too.
How? Well rather than trying to work out exactly how many carrots we’ll need for the week, we just go grab a couple from the garden when we need them.
Potatoes, Carrots, runner beans, onions, peas, tomatoes, strawberries, are just
some examples. Herbs are even happy with just a window box. Why not grow a garden you can eat?
Less waste? Absolutely! We’ve put effort into growing it, we’re not going to waste it! 🙂
- Use your left overs. If all else fails and you do end up with left overs use them.
Left over Bolognase sauce of Chilli goes great in a jacket potato. We’ll sometimes have left over Paella with some salad for lunch the next day. (Don’t keep rice cooked rice for long 24-48hrs is my max, and make sure you fridge it within an hour of it being cooked, if not throw it out.)
Left over meat can be great in a sandwich, or salad, or Chicken in a soup, lamb in a stew etc…
Bread thats gone stale can be made into breadcrumbs and used or frozen. Or turned into a bread and butter pudding…yum!
Beebee or Leaf wraps are great for storing left overs and keeping them fresh.
- Know the difference between best before and use by dates. Whilst this might sounds obvious to some, millions of ££ worth of food is thrown away because it’s reached its best before.
Use by date means that after this date the food should not be eaten.
Best before means that the product was at it’s freshest before that date, but can still be eaten.
Please apply some common sense here though…if it wasn’t green and furry when you bought it, probably best not to eat it.
- Gift away food that you know you’re not going to use in time, or even your left overs.
- Use the parts of the veg you don’t eat to make your own stock.
Carrot tops, potato peelings, those parts of the onion that are half onion and half skin…
- Compost the fruit and veg peelings, egg shells etc the bits you don’t use. So they can be used in your garden next year, and watch your garden flourish!
The positive effects to the environment with this kind of change are mostly unseen, but you could well notice fewer trips to empty the bin and lower food bills, the rest you just have to ‘know’ is making a difference.
But truly that’s how we got in such a pickle in the beginning because just like we can’t see the positives, we haven’t been able to see the negatives. Now we know that they’re there, it’s time to start tipping the scales back the other way.
And every little thing each one of us can do really does make a difference.