New Year’s resolution: Cut food waste
1. I will… plan my meals
One of the best resolutions you can make for cutting food waste is to get into the habit of meal planning. This helps you plan the food you need to buy, as well as allowing you to make your food go further – such as working in a second helping for lunch next day. To be most effective, meal plans should take into account what needs using up in the fridge, freezer and cupboards, as well as factoring in who’s in on each night. To get started, read our guide to how to create flexible and simple meal plans.
2. I will… think before I shop
We’ve all been there: found ourselves at the supermarket unable to recall whether we’re out of onions or down to the last slice of cheese, and buying more ‘just in case’. It’s a recipe for food waste, but easily fixed! When you’ve made a meal plan, draw up a shopping list with a portion planner to assist in helping you work out how much you’ll need of each ingredient. That way, you won’t end up buying too much or not enough. While you’re at it, remember to check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before planning your meals and writing your shopping list against what’s left in the fridge, freezer and cupboards so that you don’t end up doubling up.
3. I will… do more batch cooking
Batch cooking is a secret weapon in the fight against food waste, and it also saves time and money – result! Sizing up a dish gives you ‘economy of scale’ by allowing you to use up larger packs of ingredients, which are more cost-effective than small ones. You end up with lots of portions that you can freeze for easy meals another day, so nothing goes to waste. Think of them as your own healthy homemade ready meals that you can quickly reheat when you come back tired from work.
4. I will… make more use of the freezer
On the subject of the freezer, there’s not much that can’t be frozen, so it’s a great port of call for storing anything you’re not going to be able to eat before it goes off. You can freeze food right up to its ‘use by’ date, and that includes dairy products! You can even store sliced bread in the freezer and toast it from frozen – a great way to make sure you don’t end up with mouldy bread on your hands. Have a read of our guide to foods you never knew you could freeze.
5. I will… use up every little bit
Another way to cut food waste and save money is to use up every edible morsel of food – even the bits that you might normally throw away. For example, cauliflower leaves can be chopped up and included in cauliflower cheese, while odds and ends of vegetables – such as carrot tops and potato peelings – can be simmered in water to make vegetable stock. There’s also no need to peel vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, which is great news for the lazy cooks among us!
6. I will… put the fruit bowl in the fridge
Did you know that most fruit lasts longer in the fridge? With the exception of bananas and uncut pineapples, your fruit will stay fresher for longer if you move your fruit bowl to the fridge and keep it below 5 degrees Celsius. Find out more about the foods you’ve been storing in the wrong place.
7. I will… make my meals go further
Leftovers are a win on so many levels – they stop food from going to waste, they save time and they save money! Whether it’s tasty scraps of meat from a Sunday roast or a couple of slices of last night’s pizza, there’s lots to love about leftovers and they’re easily turned into a meal for the day after. Check out our YouTube playlist for some great tips on making your food go further.
If you’d like even more inspiration on the subject of tackling food waste in the year ahead, be sure to check out our page on good food habits. Happy New Year!