Food waste is one of the areas of daily life that most of us hate contributing to, but it can sometimes seem unavoidable. However, there are simple adjustments you can make to your food habits from shelf to plate to help you reduce how much you chuck away.
Be Meticulous with Your Shopping List
The first place you can start reducing your food waste is before you’ve even left to do the shopping. When making a list make sure to check your cupboards rather than guessing what you need. Additionally, buying with meals planned ahead will mean you’ll be more likely to use everything up. Of course, certain foods – like dry pasta – will last indefinitely, but when it comes to fresh food knowing when you’ll use it is a big help. Also, keep an eye on use by dates so you’re not caught out.
Store Your Food Correctly
How you store your food can make a big difference to how long it will last, reducing the amount you’ll throw away. Firstly, making sure your fridge is between 0-5C will keep things for longer. It’s also important to not store certain foods in the fridge if they don’t need to be such as bread and potatoes, these are best in a cool, dark cupboard. Additionally, fruit is best kept in a bowel but bananas should be separate as they can make other fruits spoil. But when in doubt, follow the label.
Utilise Your Freezer
Another important part of using storage to reduce food waste is utilise your freezer to its full potential, not just for pre-frozen meals. Certain fruit and veg – such as apples, strawberries, and tomatoes – can be frozen to keep them for longer. However, this can affect texture, so chopping them up or stewing them prior is a good work around. You can also freeze milk and grated or sliced cheese. Finally, freeze leftovers from sauce-based meals that you won’t eat in the next 3 days.
Watch Your Portions
The best way to avoid food waste is to finish your meals, but you may also be watching your waistline. To help you with both of these things portion control is important. By paying close attention to how much you’re putting in each dish you’ll be less likely to have some left. This may require you to measure out portions, but this will only take a minute or two. This is especially useful for foods like pasta and rice that are hard to measure by eye and not that nice cold or reheated.
Recycle Your Leftovers
If you’ve got leftovers that are still edible you can always make something else from them that doesn’t require them to be fresh. Stale sliced bread can be made into breadcrumbs – which can also be frozen in a freezer bag – and stale rolls can be crisped back up in the oven. As mentioned previously, you can make sauces from leftover veg and this can be extended to making dips from pulses and legumes. Really, with a bit of research you can make an awful lot from ‘spoiled food’.
By incorporating these habits into your routine you’ll see a significant reduction the amount of food waste you produce. Better for your wallet and your conscience.