There has been a lot of talk around food waste, and rightly so. Shockingly, the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste each year! Apparently things have improved slightly in recent years due to awareness being raised, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Companies like Too Good to Go is one of the many companies tackling food waste, with the goal to ensure that we throw away less surplus food, and ultimately help our planet along the way.
In addition, over the years, we've cultivated the idea that fruit and veg needs to look a certain way to appear on the supermarket shelves, yet regardless of shape, size or blemishes, often the food tastes exactly the same once it's been cooked or prepared. Luckily companies like Oddbox or supermarkets like Morrisons embrace the so-called "ugly" fruit and vegetables and sell them at pretty affordable prices also.
We are slowly starting to rethink the way we buy produce and use produce, and various companies are helping us to find ways to be less wasteful as a society. There are also things you can do from your own home to crack down on food waste! I'm sharing here eight handy tips to help you address this important topic, and it can also help you save money too!
1) Shop Regularly! If it fits into your schedule, consider food shopping on a more regular basis through the week, rather than bulk buying food. This means that you buy what you need for the next few days, and if plans change, you aren't left with a lot of food that is starting to spoil by the end of the week.
2) Plan ahead! If you don't have time to shop multiple times a week, consider getting into recipe and meal planning, which means you only buy the ingredients that you need for the week. If you know you're going out for meal(s), you can incorporate this into your meal plan for the week, which means you don't overbuy produce. There are various apps and online companies that help you to organise your meals for the week, some of which are free to use. You can also search online and use a printout, so you can manually write your meal plan each week if you prefer pen to paper!
3) Be aware of "best before" versus "use by". Quite often you might get to the end of the week and find that something has gone past its best before date and you chuck it out. "Best before" does not mean you need to turf it into the bin. If the produce is still looking suitable to eat (i.e. no mould or food decay), you can still consider that it's safe to consume. "Use by" on the other hand is a bit more important to adhere to - so if something is past its use by date, it's usually preferable that you do put it in the bin, to avoid any possible repercussions, such as food poisoning.
4) Consider buying some frozen produce! If you often find fresh produce is going off or you don't use it quickly enough, frozen vegetables can actually be quite good in terms of vitamin and mineral content, as they are frozen very soon after picking! You can buy a wide variety of frozen fruit and vegetables these days, and they can taste as good as the fresh. On the topic of freezers, if you have leftovers that you know you won't eat up within the next couple of days, put it in the freezer for future eating. This is handy for when you are in a hurry and of course prevents throwing away anything that is leftover from dinner. Don't forget to label the tub/bag when you freeze, so you know what you're getting out when the time comes!
5) Separate your produce! Fruit such as bananas can be handy sometimes to help other fruit and veg ripen up! However, if you find your fruit bowl is going mouldy quicker than you can eat it, consider placing the bananas in a separate bowl/location, so that it doesn't turn the rest of the produce bad before you have a chance to eat it.
6) Do some reorganisation in your fridge! Try and put produce that needs consuming first nearer the front of the fridge or on a specific shelf, so that you aim to use this first before starting on food with a longer expiry date. If you find you are consistently throwing away the same things, think about whether you should continue buying it, or try and frozen option instead.
7) Get creative with sorry looking produce! If you notice that some of your produce is really near the end of its life, spend some time doing some batch cooking or double up on a recipe so you can use up the produce AND end up with leftovers, which can be eaten the next day or frozen. You could also add some floppy veg or peelings into some water and boil it up to make a good tasting stock that can be used in a soup or other meal.
8) Compost it! If you have access to a compost bin collection, or have a garden or allotment, try and collect up your food peelings, egg shells .etc to create your own compost, rather than putting it in your generic bin.
Despite gaining awareness around food waste, there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. As individuals we can all take small steps to reduce our own food waste foot print, from buying less at a time, stocking up our freezers with frozen fruit and veg, or freezing leftovers, in addition to getting creative with fruit and veg that are past their best.
If you aren't sure where to start and you want some more tips about how food planning and batch cooking can also help you on your journey to eating healthily, please book your complimentary 20 minute call with me, to see how I can help you to feel healthier and more energetic!
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Please note that Amy Cottrell Nutrition does not claim to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional conditions. These blog articles are written for educational & informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical advice.
Do not stop or start taking medication or supplements without first talking to your primary health care provider.