Do I really waste food?
57% of us claim not to waste food (or very little) yet existing research shows that 4.2 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten is thrown away from homes each year and in west London around 30% of the content (by weight) of black bags is food waste.
Everyone is different, to find out what food items end up in your bin or food waste collection why not set yourself a small food waste challenge?
Keep a food waste diary ( 7 day food waste diary (1615 downloads) ) for a few days, or put all the food and drink that you’d normally throw into the bin into a bucket or other container, to see how much there is. Once you’ve done this, try a few of the ideas in this article and do another food waste diary in a week or 2 to see the difference.
Make a list
Writing (and sticking to!) a shopping list really can save you pounds on your food bill. It only takes a few minutes to do – whether you use scrap paper or the Love Food Hate Waste app. It’s so frustrating though if you miss something off and only find out when you get home again so here’s our 3 top tips to getting a near-perfect list!
- Keep a pad and pen in the kitchen – when you’ve got through the last of your favourites such as milk or cheese scribble it down on the list.
- Work out what you’re going to cook over the next few days – if you need inspiration check cookery books, ask for ideas and look online for recipe suggestions (we like Love Food Hate Waste) but there’s lots of places to look. Now you know what you’re going to eat add any missing ingredients to the list. Here’s LFHW’s tips for meal planning http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/content/meal-planning-tips.
- Have a quick rummage through the fridge, freezer and store cupboard before you go to make sure you have the items you think you do!
Top shopping tips
We all know that shopping when we’re hungry isn’t a good idea but there’s other easy things you could try to help your shopping go further when you get it home.
- Look for food with the longest use-by date or fresh foods which can be frozen in case you don’t get round to eating them in time.
- If you haven’t got a list or want to take advantage of an offer try to buy foods that can be used for several different dishes to give you lots of flexibility to create different meals.
- If you’re getting a big packet or a second one free put the extra you can’t eat this week away in the freezer as soon as you can when you get home. Once in the freezer it’ll last for months – if you need to know how to freeze something go online for helpful instructions e.g. freezing eggs and cheese.
Try a new recipe
Cooking doesn’t have to be hard, some recipes sound complicated and can be quite scary to read but that isn’t always the case. If you’re not feeling all that confident about your culinary capabilities, Love Food Hate Waste has a range of videos to show you how to cook some delicious, cheap meals from scratch! From an omelette to a quick pizza, a stir fry to a shepherd’s pie and pancakes to fruit crumble, there’s something for everyone. They’ll answer your questions via their website, Facebook or Twitter if you get stuck too.
You could also look at the new Let’s Get Cooking at home website from the School Food Trust. They’ve been teaching children and parents to cook for the last 5 years and this new website has lots of recipes and each recipe includes ideas for changing ingredients and how to save any leftovers for later.
If your food waste diary tells you there’s a lot of food left on plates then these ideas are just for you! There are lots of ways to work out how much to peel, prepare, pour, cook and serve – here are a few.
- Before you do the shopping check the likes and dislikes of any dinner guests – assuming we all eat the same things can leave us with food on plates.
- How hungry are you? You might normally eat 3 fish fingers but want 2 today, so to avoid preparing more food than you need ask the question.
- If you often find that you cook way too much rice, pasta or potatoes look at how you can get your portions right before you cook. You can use mugs, drinking glasses, weighing scales, hands and spoons – just find something that works for you! The LFHW perfect portion tool also helps remove the guesswork and makes sure you get the perfect portion, every time. It’s available on the app, too!
If you do end up cooking too much, don’t panic! There are countless fabulous recipes for using up ingredients. And did you know you can freeze rice?
Share your successes!
There is nothing more satisfying than experimenting with ingredients to create new recipes that you and your family enjoy – and at the same time saving money! If you discover a tasty new way to use up a particular piece of food – tell us on our Twitter and Facebook pages! We’ll happily feature it on this website. Also, share your new kitchen confidence with your friends and family – everyone loves learning new tips, trying new recipes and finding interesting new ways to use up foods that they may otherwise have been thrown away. Share them with Love Food Hate Waste too.
Try this for a couple of weeks and see how much you can save on your food bills. A typical family would save £13 a week – how do YOU compare?
Share your successes and let us know how much you’ve saved!