Tips to reduce food waste from an Eco Champion
John, one of our staff Eco Champions, has produced a helpful list of tips and tricks for reducing food waste at home
Hello, I have been asked to write this blog entry to discuss food waste, and how we can easily reduce the amount of waste we have on a weekly basis.
Obviously, every household is different. What works for one, may not work for another, but I would like to share my techniques. My daughters have grown up and flown the nest and I now find myself in a one-person household, so I have personal experience from both scenarios to share with you today. My top tips are:
- Plan your meals in advance. Taking the time to plan your meals can really help. This needn't be a chore. You can ask the rest of the household for ideas, and you can ensure you have a balance and variety, but stick to your budget.
- Make a list of what you need. A list is good. I have tried written lists, Excel lists and card indexes in my time, but no matter how much my daughter ribs me about them, they work. By creating a list, you are less likely to add more items to the trolley than you need, and therefore less likely to waste food. It also helps you to keep within your budget, and stops you coming home without a vital ingredient.
- Don't take the kids or your partner food shopping. Kids and partners slip items into the trolley which you hadn't planned, won't use, and will impact your budget. Often you realise at checkout and are pressurised into buying. To help reduce food waste and keep your budget on target, leave your darlings at home.
- If possible, order online. Covid opened my eyes to ordering online at Tesco. (Other grocery shops are available). We have all walked round the supermarket and impulse bought items we didn't plan for, don't need or will impact our budget. I went to the corner shop recently for a newspaper and spent ten pounds on items which I hadn't intended to buy. Ordering online certainly helps with self-control, and saves a lot of time too.
- Cook in bulk. When the girls were young, and now as a single-person household, I cook in bulk as a matter of habit. My favourite comfort food is Spag Bol. Rather than cook one portion, I cook in bulk, divide it into portions and freeze it separately. Not only does it work out cheaper in the long run, but the cooking time for 6 portions is the same, and the preparation time very similar. So in the long run you spend less time at the cooker, spend less, and waste less. Bargain!
- Set an alarm each evening at 6pm (for example) to take a meal out of the freezer for tomorrow. You can use your watch, step counter or Alexa to set a regular alarm.
- Be innovative and flexible. Stews, hotpots, and pasta bakes are good ways of combining and using left overs. For example, if I have some mince left over and some maccy cheese left over, I might combine them into a lasagne type pasta bake. Or, I might combine left over vegetables, chicken, and ham with a béchamel sauce and put a pie crust over it.
There are so many ways to reuse leftovers. Why not share ideas with your colleagues and friends!