Reduce Food Waste: My 10 Top Tips
Why throw away left over, unwanted and out of date food? Use these simple tips to reduce food waste saving the pennies in the process. Us Brits throw away 18-20 million tonnes of food and drink every year on average!
Its mainly down to sheer laziness, bad planning and bad food management but 18 – 20 million tonnes of waste is a substantial figure thats damaging our bottom line and is seriously not helping the environment. But there is some really simple stuff you can start doing to stop wasting food today that will keep your food spending on the down low.
1. Rotate Your Shelves
When you get back from your grocery shopping trip move older items in your shelves, fridge and freezer to the front and place the newer items at the back. By doing this you’ll most likely use up the older ones before they go out of date.
2.Weekly Menu Plan
Get your household together and decide what you’d like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then buy your food based on your choices. By having a menu plan you’ll lower your risk of placing unwanted items in the trolley and ensure you only buy what you really need. This helps to eliminate overspending and throwing away food thats gone off.
3. Buy Frozen Food
A great way of lowering your food waste is to buy the frozen stuff. You can get almost everything frozen from meats, vegetables and fruit. Buying frozen foods will make your food last longer plus you don’t have to keep checking the best before dates as regularly as opposed to fresh.
Now, you may think that eating frozen food is not as nutritious as fresh but actually you get the same nutrients and goodness from frozen fruits, vegetables and meats as you do fresh alternatives. They’re just as good for you and significantly cheaper.
4. The Difference Between Best Before & Use Buy
Believe it or not a lot of us don’t know the difference between best before and use by. Knowing this difference can save lots of food being thrown out needlessly. Simply put, best before means you can still eat it after the date shown but you may start to lose flavour – its not going to hurt you provided you don’t wait weeks after the date to eat it. Use by means you must use it by the date shown or you run the risk of making yourselves ill. If an item is past a use by date I highly recommend throwing it, but with these tips you won’t get to that point… will you!?
5. Store Food The Right Way
I was forever moaning at my kids for leaving the cereal box open in the cupboard as it will quickly go stale and be un eatable. Now we have a couple of methods – Firstly consider buying a cheap air tight container from your local discount store, storing it like this will ensure its stay crunchy and fresh for longer. Alternatively, use some washing pegs to keep the packaging folded after use.
The same applies for your bread. As we all know bread can go stale and mouldy pretty quick so if you like to have a slice every now and again but can’t ensure you’ll use it up in a few days pop the rest in your freezer and only take out what your going to eat. Most modern toaster have a setting where you can put frozen bread in to defrost and toast at the same time.
6. Serve Up The Right Amount
When cooking in our house in the past we would just throw tons of items into the pan without thinking about how much we’d really eat. We’d often end up with enough food left over to feed an army and before we learnt to use the leftovers, it would end up in the bin! Make sure when your’e cooking you count out things like potatoes and veg to the amount you’ll each individually or try using a portion planner to make sure you don’t waste food, over eat and throw cash away.
7. Set A Use It Up Day
Try to get into the habit of hunting around the fridge and cupboards for food and leftovers thats on its way out at least once a week. Using up food that may have been over looked is a great way to make the most of what you have and saving a little cash.
8. Cook More Than You Need
Ok so I know this contradicts No.6 but keep reading this only applies in certain situations. If your’e a fan of buying deals like 3 for £5 but you tend to find yourself with half empty containers of food that you don’t fancy eating 3 days on the trot simply double up on the ingredients and cook it all at once. Then store the remaining portions in the freezer to eat another day.
9. Leftovers At Lunchtime
Having 3 kids I sometimes end up with plates half full at the end of dinner time. But we don’t waste it, instead we put the leftovers into a container a pop it in the fridge. Then for lunch the next day I’ll put it in the microwave and scoff it! If you put it into a strong container you could even take it to work for lunch.
10. Use An App
If your like me and you hate lists upon lists, whether on paper or computer and you struggle to keep track of your meal planning then download an app like LFHW. It allows you to meal plan, portion plan, find recipes, create a shopping list and you can even keep track of whats in your cupboards. Ultimately helping you reduce food waste and more importantly, your cash! Make sure you share this with your family and friends!
“Hopefully you now have some added tips to help reduce food waste and save some more cash. Check out some statistics based on food waste…”