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  • Rebecca Stevens

Top 5 tips to reduce food waste

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

According to ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’, a typical British family wastes over £800 of food each year. This is mostly from unused food rather than food chucked on the floor or kids deciding they no longer like their favourite meal. To help you reduce your food waste, here are my top five tips:

1. Have a go at meal planning

Planning meals makes a real difference to food waste although it can sometimes feel like another life admin task. To get started try just a few meals each week or creating a ‘go to’ list of firm family-favourites. Listing all the ingredients you need for each one is useful – in time it could become your own family recipe book.

2. Buy what you need

To help buy the right amount and type of food always create a shopping list before you hit the shops. This will help you keep on track while out. Taking a ‘shelfie’ – a photo of your fridge and cupboards to remind you of what’s there, is another helpful way to reduce overbuying.

3. Store your fresh food correctly

Once you’ve bought food, the last thing you want to do is let it go off and correct food storage is key here. Organise meat and fish by use by date, and use the food with the shortest date first. Most fresh fruit and veg are best kept in the fridge. Potatoes do better in a dark cupboard and keep bananas out of direct sunlight. Remember, best before dates, usually used on fruit and veg are simply there to tell you when a food is at its best. If a food is past this date but still looks good, it’s usually ok. However, food such as meat will have a ‘use by’ date, and should be eaten before this date.

4. Think before you chuck

Sometimes food that may look past its best is still edible. If a banana or avocado is looking too squidgy to eat, why not try mashing it on some toast or adding it to a smoothie? You can even freeze bananas if you want to make a healthy cake or smoothie another time. Banana bread is always a winner with my family (check out my recipes for a simple yet delicious option). If you have some vegetables lurking in the back of the fridge (who doesn’t?), try roasting them. Roasted tomatoes are a firm favourite in this house. They also make great stocks, soups and pasta sauces that can be frozen for another day. Did you know you can also freeze leftover wine to add to recipes? (Although with children in the house who has leftovers?). ‘My Zero Waste Kitchen’ published by Dorling Kindersley has lots of different recipes to help use up odds and ends.

5. Get the portion size right

Serving the right amount of food to begin with can really help to reduce food waste. This can be difficult to gauge, but try offering a smaller portion first, then offering seconds. This goes for adults and children alike and may result in leftovers for another day.

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