Every year in the UK, enough food is thrown away to fill 38 million wheelie bins, while at the exact same time, thousands of families are struggling to afford to eat.
An average family of four can save about £60 every month by reducing the amount food that goes to waste from their household, so it’s not only good for the environment, it’s good for your bank balance too.
Here are five ideas to help you reduce your food waste:
- If you prepare a healthy recipe for the family tea and there’s food leftover, why not box up a portion for lunch the next day? It can save time and you’ll still benefit from the nutrients! You can find more inspiration for using up leftovers here.
- Measure your ingredients and only cook only the amount you need. It takes away the guesswork and means you’re on track for healthy portion sizes. A guide on serving the right amount of different foods for adults and children can be found here.
- Always look at the date on food when you buy it and don’t forget your freezer is your friend; lots of fresh foods can be frozen and kept for longer, such as bread and meat. Did you know you can even freeze items such as potatoes and eggs? Learn more about what you can freeze and some top tips here.
- Involve the kids! There are family activities designed to open your eyes about how much you’re wasting without even realising here.
- Sharing is caring! If you find you have excess, donate it so surplus food is shared not thrown away. You can donate to the local food bank, get involved with community initiatives such as Tin On A Wall, or there’s even apps such as Olio where you can share with neighbours.
Businesses are doing their bit now too! The ‘Too good to go’ app gives you the opportunity to get your hands on a ‘Magic Bag’ (also known as the food that will go to waste) from supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. Use the app to see what’s available near you, reserve it, and collect it!
Who doesn’t love a life hack? Get the most out of the food you buy with these food freshness hacks:
- Place the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery and asparagus in water to help them stay fresher for longer.
- Greens, like lettuce and spinach, will last much longer when they are stored in a sealed container with a piece of kitchen roll to absorb condensation.
- Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries? Wait to wash berries until you’re about to eat them, excess water can cause them to mould sooner.
- If your milk is approaching its expiry date, pour it into a zip lock bag and pop it in the freezer (top tip, the less air the better!)
- If you separate your bananas when you buy them, stop. Keeping them in a bunch is supposed to make them last three to five days longer.
- If you store your eggs outside of the box you bought them in and you can’t remember (or see on the shell) the expiry date, place the egg into a bowl of water; if it sinks to the bottom on its side it’s fresh, if it stands up on the bottom it’s still good enough to eat, if it’s floating, you’ve missed the boat and it’s no good.