We’re already a couple of weeks into the New Year, so no doubt lots of well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have begun to fall by the wayside. If you’re wavering on your commitment to sign up for an expensive gym membership, or questioning whether it’s realistic to read 100 books this year don’t beat yourself up too much. Resolutions can feel daunting, but the start of a new year is a good opportunity to think about how you can alter some bad habits, such as wasting food.
Why food waste?
If you’d like to make a real difference this year, for both your wallet and the environment – why not resolve to waste less food? Reducing the amount of food you throw away is a positive and realistic goal to have. Over 60% of food waste is avoidable and edible, so throwing food into the bin is like tipping money down the drain. Tackling food waste can save up to £60 a month on food bills – think of all the things you could do with that extra money! By reducing food waste you’re also saving natural resources, energy, and the human effort that goes into producing and distributing food.
My journey so far
I still have a way to go when it comes to food waste, especially since I have recently moved back into a shared housing scenario where we buy our own food. I find I waste more food when I shop just for myself, as it’s often hard to get a small amount of some items. If you want any variety with fresh fruit and veggies, it can be hard to eat them all before they start to go off. I’m currently learning the value in cooking larger portions and freezing some for later – this is great because I use up more of my ingredients and it also means when I’m really tired I can come home to a ready meal waiting for me in the freezer. I’ve also learnt it’s a good idea to chop and freeze items you know you won’t be able to use before they go off – this saves the food and saves you work further down the track, as the chopping has already been done.
Sometimes it pays to get creative too. The other night I decided to make a big pot of ratatouille, knowing I’d end up freezing some for later. When I was going through the fridge I discovered half a broccoli that was on its last legs, so I decided to cut it into small florets and pop it into the mix. Maybe not something you’d traditionally add to a ratatouille but a delicious addition none the less! If I find I have lots of stray bits of vegetables I’ll try and think of a way I can use them all, like mixing up a stir-fry, you can put almost anything in a stir-fry. Or if I have a few eggs and something bulky like potatoes I’ll make a frittata, which also makes a delicious lunch for the next couple of days either hot or cold.
What you can do
Food waste is a big issue, but there are lots of simple and practical ways you can reduce it. Here at the Food Partnership we are part of Sainsbury’s Waste Less, Save More campaign. Below are some ideas of how you can reduce food waste, why not pick a few and resolve to stick to them over the next year? Make 2018 the year that you wipe out food waste!
- Meal plan for the week ahead, writing up a grocery list based on this
- Don’t shop hungry – it can lead to impulse buys
- Be wary of multi-buy deals. If you can’t get through it all, you’re wasting money not saving it
- Know your labels. ‘Use by’ dates matter, but ‘best before’ dates can be ignored.
- Make sure your fridge temperature is correct to ensure food stays fresh for longer. Contact us to receive a free fridge thermometer.
- Use bag clips (or laundry pegs!) in the cupboard and freezer to keep food fresh for longer.
- Utilise your freezer. Many foods can be frozen to extend their life, and freezers use less energy when they are full.
- Get to know your serving sizes and cook accordingly.
- Love your leftovers. If you struggle to cook exact portions, plan to eat the leftovers the next day.