The holidays are an indulgent time of year. However, adopting some sustainable behaviours over the Christmas period can minimise its environmental impact, benefit our health and help save us money. Reducing the amount of waste from our kitchens, for example, is vital. In 2015 alone, the UK threw away 7.3m tonnes of household waste; that’s £13bn worth of food (approx £470 lost per household). With these sobering statistics in mind, read on to discover our Top 5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste!
1. Buy frozen fruit and vegetables
Frozen fruit and veg is often much cheaper than, and won’t deteriorate in the same way as, fresh produce. However, it is no less nutritious; in fact, frozen fruits and vegetables may even be better for us than fresh, as the freezing process preserves delicate nutrients such as vitamin C.
2. Batch cook meals
A great way to reduce your weekly food bill and how much food ends up in the bin, whilst upping the nutritional value of your meals, is to batch cook meals from scratch. Think wholesome homemade curries, delicious birchers and moreish protein pancakes. Portion your meals up into individual servings in advance to further reduce the likelihood of food going to waste.
3. Get creative
Rather than buying ingredients to fit a recipe, why not try taking an assortment of ingredients already in your kitchen and concocting a new creation? Not only will this prevent you from binning forgotten food, it’ll also save you stacks of cash each month. Check out the video below for tips on how to prolong the shelf life of foods you already have at home.
4. Make friends with the blender
We’re quick to throw away food that doesn’t look it’s best. However, soups and smoothies are quick, easy and the perfect way to use up fruits and veggies that have gone slightly past their prime. Experiment by adding store cupboard staples such as herbs and spices to soups, and nuts and seeds to smoothies.
5. Know your labels
Food often goes to waste just because we misunderstand ‘Use by’ and ‘Best before’ dates. The ‘Best before’ date is simply an indication of when the quality of a product starts to decline. The ‘Use by’ date, however, is what we should really be paying attention to; products are safe to eat up to and including the date indicated but should not be consumed thereafter. This isn’t the be all and end all though; most fresh and chilled produce can be frozen up until their ‘Use by’ date to extend how long they can be kept before being disposed of.
Living a more sustainable lifestyle makes sense; it can benefit the environment, our wallets and even our health. Food waste is one area that can easily be tackled; the five ideas above take minimal effort yet can make a huge difference over time. Therefore, be sure to try these next time you’re tempted to throw out your Christmas leftovers. What are your thoughts on reducing food waste -perhaps you have some great ideas to help others that you’d like to share? Tell us about it below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!