Wednesday 28thApril is international stop food waste day. We waste 33% of food produced globally. We could feed all the 795 million undernourished people in the world with just 25% of this waste! So here are a few things to try to help you cut food waste and eat healthily.
- Plan meals and shop to the plan. You could spend up to 40% less this way. So it’s good for your bank balance as well as the planet. Some families find that it’s helpful to make the plan together. In our family this would lead to total chaos. Instead the adults make the plan then share it with the kids. They then get the chance to make suggestions and point out oversights, such as meals out with friends that have already been agreed. Talking about the plan is a great chance to drop in some nutrition facts. You could point out great sources of calcium for strong bones, good sources of protein for growth or why meals supply a steady supply of energy for sports or activities.
- When you shop always check use by dates. If you are shopping online state your preferred use by date in the comments section. I just add the note “no short dates please” if I plan to use the food to make a dish later in the week. I add the note “please look for short dates and discounts” if I plan to use the food the day it’s delivered. This works really well. Give it a try and let me know how your supermarket does.
- Be an innovator. If a recipe calls of peas and you have sweetcorn it might work just as well. In general if I have veggies leftover I try to lob them into whatever I’m making, within reason. You can add quite a bit more veg than recipes suggest. One thing to be wary of is that vegetables contain a lot of water. So it sometimes helps to cut back on the liquid ingredients a little. Adding lots of colourful vegetables to an omelette or soup is a fantastic way to use things up. For more information about creative ways to use more vegetables in family meals see my post here Don’t forget lunch boxes can be so much more than a sandwich and a bag of crisps. Packed lunches provide a great opportunity to use up things like cous cous or pasta salad, fruit vegetables, eggs, meat and fish.
- Be savvy about storage. There are some great gadgets like fruit and vegetable cushions. These have porous beds that allow air circulation and help keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer. Cut to size and use in the fruit bowl and fridge. When kept in the fridge, a “banana keep fresh bag” can stop your bananas from over-ripening for as long as two weeks. There is some great advice from Good Housekeeping here to help you keep your fruit and veg fresher for longer.
- Do a good cupboard audit once a month. I sometimes discover things the kids have decided to stop eating that have plenty of time left on the use by date. Pop on note on your neighbourhood social media group and see if anyone can use the items. Alternatively donate them to your local food bank.
For more information about “stop food waste day” head over to the website and consider taking the pledge.