Food waste is that it is rife in the Western world. The wasting of food is a serious issue because what is truly being wasted are resources such as clean water and energy in food production and transportation. Then there is the problem of greenhouse gases, a byproduct of the energy that is being used to produce the food we are wasting. All of which points to a situation that is very far from sustainable for our planet.
The good news is that even though the system is broken, there are actions we can take to help repair it, live more sustainably, and reduce our food waste. Read on to find out what they are.
Use a weekly menu system
The first step you can take to reduce food waste is to swap to a weekly menu system. This means you plan your entire week’s food including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and take out.
Once you have this plan you can much more clearly see what ingredients you will need to buy. This then stops you from buying too much food, and because you have a plan in place it also holds you accountable to eating and using the food you have for that day.
Of course, what no one tells you is that coming up with 21 meals plus snacks can be hard work, especially if you have to cook for others whose taste is not similar or you like a little variety in your meals. The good news is that you can make this task easier by using one of the following tactics.
The first is to find a recipe and meal planning app. These best ones to choose will not only allow you to plan what you are eating when but also automatically generate a shopping list for you. Something that can save you a whole heap of time and effort.
Another option is to use cookbooks to find your recipes and plan your meals. The good thing about this is that you can plan your food around particular ingredients that you know to be sustainable, and that are transported and packed in a more eco-friendly way.
Of course, there will be some work involved in writing your shopping list. Although you can create five weekly dinner plans and write out a master shopping list for each. Something that means you can just grab the list and go depending on the week you find yourself on.
Use your leftovers
Another important way that you can drastically reduce your food waste is to make sure you use your leftovers.
Don’t panic though, as this doesn’t mean you have to eat meals of cold cuts every second day. Instead, it’s all about getting inventive with what has been left over from the last meal.
For example, if you have roast joint beef at the weekend, be sure to save the leftover meat, cube it and try something like this easy Hungarian goulash recipe mid-week. It’s delicious and all you need are some dried noodles to serve with it, something that makes it wallet-friendly as well as sustainable.
Another option is to choose ingredients in your refrigerator that aren’t going to be used to create stocks, soups, and sauces. You can then freeze these and you will have a free, instant meal for a busy day.
Finally don’t forget that you can make use of leftover fruit, rather than throwing it away as well. In fact, fruits such as bananas make wonderful ice cream and a leftover carrot of two is the perfect excuse to whip up a sweet treat like this cake?
Choose a packed lunch
Not only is buying a sandwich when you get to work or school an expensive option, but it’s not very healthy or sustainable either. Indeed, there are all sorts of issues with this sort of eating including all the packaging that is used, and the potential waste involved.
Fortunately, you can avoid all of this by bridging your own food from home. You don’t even need to craft specially made lunches. Instead, just get yourself a reusable food container and make a little extra of the meals you have in the evening. It’s that simple!
Last of all if you want to reduce your household’s food waste composting is an essential action. Composting is where you collect the inedible parts of fruits and vegetables you use like peel, skin, and stems, storing them in a bucket in your kitchen and then adding them to a compost pile outside where they break down into nutrient-rich compost.
This compost can then be used in your garden to grow other plants, including other fruits and vegetables. Thus completing the cycle, lowering food waste and ensuring that you are living in the most sustainable way possible.