Top 10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

By Bethan Hamilton, MMSc, ANutr, categorized in Foodies’ Folder

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Did you know one third of the worlds food supply is wasted each year? 1 Shocking right! Throwing away uneaten food is not something we tend to think about that often, however here in the UK, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink per year that we could have eaten, potentially costing each of us £470! 2

Those are not small numbers, especially if food prices increase.  So, let’s join together and try to reduce the amount of food we waste. To help you along the way, here are my top 10 small but impactful changes:

1. Be a Smart Shopper

And the best way to do this is food planning and a shopping list. Wandering aimlessly around the supermarket and randomly choosing ingredients is more likely to lead to food waste. Meal planning means you can buy exactly what you require for each meal of the week. If you know you will only use a little spinach with your falafels on Monday, plan a recipe to use up the rest for Wednesday.

2. Optimise that Fridge

5°C or below; this is just how your ingredients like it. 3

3. ‘Use-by’ vs. ‘Best-before’ dates

Understanding the difference between packaging terms may stop you throwing something away due to uncertainty on whether it is safe to eat, so let’s clarify

  • ‘Use-by’ = it is advised not to eat after this date, the product may be unsafe
  • ‘Best-before’ = the quality of the food may not be as good past this date, but it is still edible! #Don’tThrow

4. Keep the Peel

As much as you can, keep the skin on those veggies you always peel; you’ll keep nutrients that would have otherwise just ended up in your bin. For those you do peel, did you know you can make a veggie stock with the peelings? Literally boil a few handful of your peelings with an onion, some herbs and water for about an hour, strain out the veg and freeze for future use!

5. Don’t Let It Go Bad

We have all done it; a massive shop to stock that fridge, and then a week later you find a bag of tomatoes not looking too fresh squished in the back corner! A top tip is to keep rotating foods in the fridge. By keeping older foods at the front, you’ll avoid unrecognizable science experiments going on at the back.

6. Freeze!

You may be surprised at the amount of foods you can freeze. Browned bananas? Freeze them without the skins to make a deliciously smooth smoothie in a couple weeks. Veggies looking a little worse for wear? Whip up a soup and freeze it for a later date. Stock up on freeze bags and a sharpie and you’re good to go!

7. Herbs on Ice

Speaking of foods you can freeze, herbs are the perfect example. Instead of watching them deteriorate in your fridge, chop them up and stick them in an ice cup tray with a little olive oil. You can then use them to fry your veggies in at a later date!

8. Get a Bread Bin         

Ironically, to avoid needing your rubbish bin! Extend the life of your loaf by keeping bread in a cool dark place, e.g. your brand new bread bin. If you are still struggling to prevent it going off, a great idea is to slice it up and, yes you guessed it, put them in the freezer. All you then need to do is ping it in the toaster when needed.

9. Love Your Leftovers

Make leftovers your new best friend. Whether you totally misjudged portion sizes, or ordered too much at dinner, save what is left over. You can then have it for lunch or dinner the next day.

10. Compost

Normally what comes to mind is a wheelie bin sized container in your garden. However, these days you can get mini composters for your kitchen, perfect for all those extra peelings. You can then use the compost for your windowsill garden to help your plants flourish!

References:

 

1. Food and Agriculture Organizations of United Nations. (2017). SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. Accessed on 13/04/2017 from:http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

2. Food Standards Agency (2016) Food waster. Accessed on 13/04/17 from: https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/campaigns/food-waste

3. NHS Choices (2016) How to store food and leftovers. Accessed on 13/04/17 from: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/how-to-store-food-and-leftovers-safely.aspx