Reducing our food waste is not something that we do just once, but something that we need to practice and keep on doing. If you’re just starting out or looking for ways to improve, here are my top 10 tips for reducing food waste.
1.Plan your meals.
It may sound simple yet most of us rarely do this and resort instead to buying on impulse. Planning what we’re going to eat and heading to the shops with a list can help dramatically cut our food waste as well as save money as we avoid buying food unnecessarily. Click here for an easy to use meal planner
2.Measure out portions and avoid cooking too much.
A lot of food is wasted when we cook too much. Measuring out portions of things such as rice and pasta can really help. Mashed potato can be frozen if you cook too much and is a great stand by. Just roll it into balls about the size of an egg and freeze on a tray.
3.Freeze leftover portions and have regular ‘Eat the Freezer’ weeks.
Regularly using up the food in the freezer is important to avoid waste. Too often, food stays in our freezers for long periods of time until we no longer want to eat it. Remember, food will never go off in your freezer, but the texture and taste may deteriorate over a long period of time. To read more about Eat the Freezer, click here
4.Understand the difference between ‘Use By’ and ‘Best Before’ dates.
‘Use by’ dates refer to food safety whereas ‘Best Before’ dates are only about the quality of the food. It is fine to eat food after the ‘Best Before’ date. As with the freezer, it is only the texture and taste that may deteriorate over a period of time. For more information click here
5.Enjoy a free lunch!
Food leftover from last nights’ dinner can make a great lunch the next day. Within your own family, don’t be shy about rescuing untouched food from people’s plates. A lot of food is wasted this way when it is perfectly good to eat.
6.Have a list on the fridge door of things that need using up.
Many people make a list of food that they need to buy, but don’t list food they already have that needs eating up. Little reminders can make sure that food doesn’t get forgotten.
7.Have a few recipes or ideas ready to use up things that most often get wasted in your home.
For example, a vegetable soup is great for using up veg that is past its best and you don’t need to follow a specific recipe. Bananas that have started to go black are great for making banana muffins or even banana milkshake.
8.Build your meals around what you do have rather than what you don’t.
If you only have one courgette left in the fridge, make something that will incorporate the courgette rather than dismissing it and shopping for a completely different meal.
9.Don’t stockpile food
Unless you live in a very remote part of the country, there is no need to stockpile food. Stockpiling food means we easily overlook what we already have and continue to buy more. We are then more likely to waste food that has been sitting in our cupboards a long time.
10.Value our food as a gift.
When we value something, we take care of it and are less inclined to waste it. Considering where our food has come from, the energy and resources that have gone into producing it and the fact that many people do not have enough to eat can help us appreciate our food as a precious gift.