Plan to save Spud and Slice
Last week we introduced you to Spud and Slice, two of the foods most often thrown away from our homes. Well, there’s more to tell you about the 4.2 million tonnes of edible food that’s thrown away each year – almost half of that hadn’t even been opened/started – It’s TRUE!
Are you asking yourself why if it hadn’t been opened it was gotten rid of? The answer to that is because it went soft or hard, too bruised, mouldy, out of date etc before someone was able to eat it. We’d like to meet the adult in west London who has never had a slice of bread go mouldy or a potato become a mass of sprouting bits – no one is perfect and food accidents do happen. The 7 day food waste diary you (and maybe your friends too) have been doing will show it’s not always easy. We’ve been filling out our diaries too, here are our food oops moments of the week.
Spud and Slice have been having a hard time in Roger’s kitchen, with 4 small potatoes thrown away this week because they were rotten and the crusts of a loaf because no one felt like eating them. Sam moved last week so they’ve been eating strange meal combinations to clear out the freezer and cupboards, unearthed in the frezer were 3 burgers that had been in there for at least 2 years and weren’t quite up to being eaten. Finally from Sarah’s kitchen a quarter full jar of dip was discovered hiding in the back of the fridge with a fuzzy mould topping, an orange became shrivelled and battered in the fruit bowl and 2 and a half pints of milk were frozen to avoid them being thrown away.
This week we’re introducing you to the wheel of food, there’s no fortune to be won, but the £’s it could help you save will still come in handy. Over the next few months we’ll take you through some hints and tips about different parts of the wheel and hopefully you’ll share you stories and ideas with us too.
First up, let’s talk about planning to save the day. When it comes to planning meals, most of us have some idea what we will be eating in the coming week, with only 20% of us usually deciding on the day.
Too busy not to plan?
Planning doesn’t have to be laborious or time consuming – in fact it can save us time. Spending 20 minutes in one go to plan your meals for the next few days is often quicker than standing in front of the fridge when you get home from work deciding what you feel like eating or the discussion with everyone else in the household – do any of these sound familiar?
You: ‘What do you want for dinner?’
Them: Don’t know, what have we got
You: Listing various items
Them: What would that make
Followed by long discussion and comments
Them: What’s for dinner?
You: Lasagne or pasta salad
Them: Don’t want that, what else is there
You: What do you want for dinner?
You: We had them yesterday
Them: I want them again
You: Big sigh followed by a discussion about eating properly and what’s in the fridge
Planning will also save you time when shopping. If you know what meals you need to cook it’s quite easy to write a shopping list and a list means that we are less likely to spend time wandering around the shops wondering what to have for tea.
What do we do?
The indecision about what you feel like eating happens in Sarah’s house at least twice a week with minds being changed and in Roger’s house they tend to cook a few large meals at the weekend avoiding cooking again until Thursdays. At Sam’s it’s more complicated, in their shared house there isn’t much cupboard space so she tends to buy a little food every day when she passes local shops on the walk from the station and her boyfriend occasionally brings home food from the café he works in.
What to have?
If you need ideas to get you started have a look at some ready-made meal plans, we’ve done one 7 day food waste diary, Love Food Hate Waste has a 2 week meat-free planner, Netmums have one, then there’s one from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, M&S and loads more online. There’s also the online planners in the Love Food Hate Waste app and Sainsbury’s app so you’ve got everything at your finger tip.
Mind the Gap
However, we all know that even the best laid plans do not always work out. Many of us lead busy lives and our plans can often change at the last minute, as can the number of people who will be in for meals. Whether you’ve worked late, grabbed a takeaway, been surprised by an offer of dinner out, or just don’t fancy what you had planned that doesn’t mean to say food will be wasted. If you plan some gaps into your weekly meal plan it will leave some wriggle room so if you do happen to be at home, it’s a great opportunity to use meals from the freezer, or use leftover or forgotten foods (ones that you buy just in case and can last months) to make a meal.
Give it a try this week – do you see a difference in the amount of time you save or the food you don’t get round to eating? 24 million slices of bread are thrown away every day, if you can save just one piece of bread or a roll then you’ll be a Superhero for our own Slice!
We’re going to skip ahead a spoke on the food wheel next week and tell you about the Superhero in your kitchen.