“Following on from my last post for HBC Magazine on zero waste, I’m sharing with you, my top 6 tips for reducing waste in your own life.”
The first tip is a simple one to start with. Don’t want to waste food? Don’t buy it in the first place!
Supermarkets are designed to encourage you to overbuy so don’t fall for it. Whilst bulk buying dried produce like rice and pasta is a good way to get value for money, buying too much fresh produce that will go off quickly isn’t worth it if you can’t commit to using it.
Go to the shops armed with a list of what you need, including measures for particular recipes. And stick to it!
You can always go back if you really can’t stop thinking about that bargain punnet of apricots.
Find recipe tools to use up leftovers
So you succumbed to that value pack of courgettes and now you’ve got seven sat in the fridge. Or you went for the mega value tub of yoghurt which you’re worried is now fermenting into kefir on your watch. What are you going to do?
Hands down the best tool I find for these moments is the BBC Food website.
Their search facility enables you to search for two or three ingredients at a time and gives you recipe ideas that include them. Suddenly courgettes + yoghurt = Courgette pancakes with spiced Greek yoghurt or Broad bean and courgette pilaf. Much more appetising.
Packed lunch on the go
It might not be as Instagram-able as a fresh tray of sushi or a wrap from the pop-up food market outside your office. But having your leftovers for lunch the next day is going to save you so much money and will use up every last morsel of that delicious meal you poured time and energy into.
You can always add a salad and a shake of nuts and seeds to bulk it up and make the meal even more nutritious.
Freeze it, baby
If you got carried away with the butcher’s deal on chicken, or find that perfectly ripe avocado going to waste, the freezer is your friend.Most food, raw or cooked, can be preserved just perfectly in the freezer. Made an extra portion of rice? Freeze it. Berries shrivelling up with no purpose? Freeze them. A loaf of bread just not going to be eaten? Slice it and FREEZE IT!
And yes I was being serious about avocado. Scoop it out and chop it up and put it in a sandwich bag and pop it in the freezer. You can bung it in a smoothie on a future date and thank me later.
Smoothie it up!
Fruit and veg can be big culprits for waste as they so visibly deteriorate with age. But they’re also the part of our diet that most people are regularly undereating. Most recent research showed 10 portions of fruit and veg a day is even better for the body and could help prevent premature deaths.
So if you’re not getting 10 portions a day (and likely you’re not), start the day with a smoothie using that fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste. Try and get at least 3-4 of those portions (that’s 80g so 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 banana or 2 kiwi fruit for example) into your smoothie. Then feel smug for the rest of the day knowing you’re already streets ahead on essential nutrients.
Go on lock down
If you really are a perpetual over-shopper when it comes to food then why not set yourself a challenge? Lock up the credit card and force yourself for a day, three days, or hell – even a week, to make meals using only what you have in the cupboards.
I swear this is such a good way of really rooting to the back of the cupboards to find and use long forgotten ingredients. I discovered a whole bag of maca doing this once, and also ploughed through a packet of buckwheat flour as I realised I had the right ingredients for pancakes. You’ll need to be confident and prepared to experiment, but it’ll save you money and use up so much food that could otherwise have gone to waste.