I am an avid food recycler and I have noticed something over the last year.
My food bin seems to fill up three times a week. Last year it was once. This led me to question, what am I doing differently now? How can I stop wasting food?
There have been two big changes in life over the last year.
- I started buying more food. Probably more than me and my family could manage because I was trying to limit myself to one food shop a week in line with guidelines. This meant that I was buying more trying to make sure we had enough in.
- My daughter started eating (or not eating) food.
How to stop wasting food
Since noticing this new trend in my household, I’ve been on a mission to stop wasting food. I’ve found creative ways to use leftovers and a plan to prevent overbuying in the future.
1. Write a list of meals for the week (and stick to it!)
When you go food shopping write a list of meals for the week and the ingredients you need to make them. When you get home from the shop, or while you are there, sort meals into date order so that nothing is going out of date before you get to use it.
By thinking ahead of your meals you can plan how to use absolutely everything in the fridge. I have 2 recipes which call for ½ pot of Creme fraiche. I make sure that I do these recipes back to back so that it doesn’t go to waste.
2. Dish up smaller portions
Remember, you can always go back for more. If you dish everything up and then decide you don’t want it, it will only be good for a few hours due to bacteria. Instead, leave untouched leftovers in the kitchen and go back if you want it. If not, label it up and pop it in the fridge or freezer.
This has worked really well when feeding my daughter. I hated seeing how much of her lunch was going in the bin (or the dog). Now I don’t overwhelm her with big portions, instead I break it down into dinner today, lunch tomorrow.
Leftovers make the best lunches!
3. Turn leftovers into something new
If you have managed to make a massive batch of spag bol then you can turn it into chilli for the next night by adding a few spices. If you have heaps of leftovers from a roast you can whip it up in to bubble and squeak.
Think of ways you can use your leftovers and make them into something more exciting to avoid getting bored of the same flavours.
4. Look at meal delivery services
If you lead a busy life and don’t have time to meal plan or the brain space to sort through dates, look at meal delivery services. These services send you everything you need for your meal without wasting anything.
5. Shop for fresh fruit and veggies as you need them
Another way to stop wasting food is to only shop for fresh food when you actually need it.
Don’t buy veggies on a Monday that you won’t be eating until Sunday.
This makes sure that you always have fresh food and avoid lobbing a load of carrots because they’ve gone a little bendy.
6. Smoothies and soups
When we have fruit and veggies on the turn I pop them into the blender or soup maker to create something new. These can then be frozen if you’re not ready to eat them right now, or they’ll last a couple of days in the fridge.
7. Sort your cupboards out
Organising and arranging your fridge and cupboards will mean you can easily see what you have.
Bring short date foods to the front and stack your cupboards so you can see what is in there.
This will mean you bring less duplicates into the house when you go shopping and will avoid wasting things because they’re right at the back of the fridge.
How to stop food waste, final thoughts
When you notice that food waste is becoming a problem in your house it is time to take action.
Limit your shopping trips and eat what you have at home before bringing in more food.
Food waste isn’t only damaging to our purses, it increases our carbon footprint.
According to research, food waste contributes to a 5th of greenhouse gasses.
So buy the plastic free veggies from the market and meat from the butcher – but eat it too!