Did you know that Earth Day has been going for 50 years! I have always been environmentally conscious but even more so in recent years. Also with the current situation, we are all in, I’ve been trying to make food stretch as much as possible and not let any go to waste. This lead me to create a post to let you know my top 10 tips to reduce your food waste at home!
1. Regularly check your food levels
My first tip is to get to know your fridge, freezer and cupboards well so that you know exactly what you’ve got! A common mistake people make is rebuying the same product because they don’t know whether they’ve got it at home. You can also avoid overbuying with the food you’ve already got in mind.
2. Organise your fridge
In extension to my last tip, a great way to get to know your fridge is to organise it efficiently. Organising your fridge, freezer and cupboards will help you organise your food and strategically plan what food you need. It will also allow you to see what you already need to use up.
3. Meal Plan
Reduce food waste by planning what meals you’re going to have and when. This will allow you to only buy the food you need and have a clear vision in your mind. Meal planning can also help you to come up with ideas on how to use certain ingredients multiple times. (Rather than just using half in a recipe and then leaving the rest to go bad in the fridge.)
4. Shop Smartly
Before going shopping, I highly recommend making a shopping list to avoid over-shopping. Having a shopping list allows you to stay focussed on what you need. When shopping smartly, avoid buying lots of fresh ingredients that are going to go bad before you get to use them all. Instead, think about doing a big shop for all your cupboard and long-lasting essentials and then top up your fresh ingredients as and when you need them.
5. Make use of fresh ingredients first
When planning what to eat and make, always check the expiration dates of your food and check on your fresh ingredients. Always prioritise using up your fresh ingredients first as these will have the shortest shelf life. Also, prioritise fresh ingredients that will go bad first such as leafy greens and salad ingredients. Having a structure to what ingredients you use first will help you use ingredients before they turn bad and eliminate food waste.
6. Make use of your freezer
When reducing food waste, your freezer will become your best friend! Using your freezer will help you save and store food for longer that would go bad in the fridge. It can help with meal preparation in allowing you to make a big bulk of meals ahead that can be eaten weeks and even months ahead. I love frozen fruit and vegetables for cooking and making smoothies and this also allows me to reduce the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables I buy whilst still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
7. Organise your meals with portion sizes in mind
Another common mistake that can lead to food waste is not organising leftover food into portions. This can lead to a small amount of food that you don’t know what to do with. You can avoid this issue by dividing your food into portion sizes before storing away. This will help ensure that all of your food made is eaten. If you do come across the problem of having just a small amount of a dish left, why not turn into a buffet-style dinner by serving it with other nibbles and small dishes?
8. Use up every part of your fruit and vegetables
We can often eat more of our fruit and vegetables than people realise! For example, broccoli stalks are super tasty and when cut up small can be thrown into soups, curries, stir-fries and more! Cauliflower leaves are also great when roasted and thrown into other dishes and for me the tastiest part of a cauliflower. Fruit peels can be candied to make tasty sweets or boiled with sugar to make a fruity syrup. There are endless things you can do with all your vegetable “scraps” if you research online. So use as much as you can! This will help you stretch out your food meaning you can buy less and reduce your food waste.
9. Use your blender to make Soups/Smoothies
In extension to my last tip having a blender can be a get way of using up your vegetable or fruit that is not quite perfect. Making smoothies can be a great way to use up bruised or soft fruits. Soups can be a great way of using up vegetable parts you wouldn’t usually use up or vegetables that need using up quickly.
10. Get Creative with food
The main point I can give about using up food is to not be afraid and just go for it! Experiment with new flavours and combinations of food and see what new dishes you can create. I find it exciting seeing what I can make with a limited number of ingredients so get creative! You will soon find flavours and combinations that work for you and you’ll soon be a food saver expert.
I hope you found these tips useful and enjoy getting creative and organised in the kitchen! As always, have a joyful and delicious time.