No one likes to see good food wasted, but it happens. Those extra apples you got on offer at the supermarket start to rot. The leftovers you were planning to repurpose lost their appeal, so you order takeout instead. While it doesn’t seem a lot at the time, it all adds up. In the EU alone, we waste nearly 88 million tons of food annually. Luckily there are plenty of things you can do to reduce household food waste. Here are some simple tips that protect the environment (and your bank balance).
1. Shop often and less
The emergence of huge supermarkets has messed with our shopping habits. The choices on offer can be overwhelming, and while bulk discounts seem like good value, they often lead to us buying more than they need. A good way to save food, money (and time) is avoiding them as much as possible. Sure, a big grocery shop for the pantry is helpful once in a while, but try buying fresh items like veg and bread regularly and from smaller shops or markets. Not only will it encourage you to eat what you have, but it’s also a way to keep money in your local economy.
2. Embrace your freezer
So many foods can be easily frozen, from fruit to eggs, from baked goods to leftovers. Embracing your freezer not only means less food waste, but it also makes healthy ingredients and homecooked meals easily accessible. Try batch cooking and freezing meals in portions, so you always have something tasty to hand, or try freezing scraps such as vegetable and citrus peels for repurposing at a later date. Keep frozen fruit at hand for a quick smoothie or healthy snack.
3. When in doubt, compost
If your leftovers or groceries are looking too funky to eat, make sure you have a composting bin nearby. You can get it collected, or even use it yourself to grow herbs and veg at home. If you have no outside space, don’t worry. Try making an indoor herb garden next to a sunny window (or with the help of a few extra lights), and turn your home into an edible oasis!
4. Love what others discard
So many perfectly good fruits and vegetables are thrown away because of their wonky shapes, while unusual cuts of meat and bones often go to waste. Building up a good relationship with your grocer and butcher is a great way to save money and make the most of the produce others ignore. Try buying brown bananas at a discount and freezing for baking and smoothies, or pick up bones from the butcher to make epic soup stocks.
5. Plan ahead
It helps to plan out meals for the week, and consider how your leftovers can work their way into different dishes. Take a few minutes before you head to the shops to get strategic. Take inspiration from whatever fruit and veg are in season, as this will mean fresher, cheaper ingredients with fewer food miles. Building your meals around seasonal produce is a simple way to keep your meals healthy (and delicious).