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Tops Tips For Reducing Food Waste

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Food Waste Meal Planning Leftovers

In the UK it’s fair to say that we waste far too much food. Recent research suggests that we throw away around a staggering third of the food that we buy. Not to mention the wastage, financially it is costing the average household up to £400 a year!

With our busy lives it can be hard to shop wisely and prepare fresh food. However, by making just a few small changes you are likely to see the size of your bin shrink.

Get Acquainted with Your Freezer

A freezer is the answer to your prayers if you’re trying to cut down on waste and slim down your shopping budget (and maybe yourself!). By using your freezer you can keep loads of food that could have otherwise gone off and you can cook meals in advance.

It’s often handy to freeze bread as if you live alone or with just one other person you might well struggle to get through a whole loaf before bits of it start to go green and furry.

You can also freeze some fruits and vegetables, which is great as these are prime candidates for getting thrown out because they’re past their best. Frozen bananas that are on the turn are great for baking, especially for banana bread. Frozen strawberries or raspberries are great for having on hand to whip up a smoothie. Frozen vegetables will keep in the fridge for making soups, even if they are cooked leftovers from meals.

You can even freeze leftover wine (if there is any!) for cooking. Freeze it in ice cube trays and just drop it in the pan for any dishes that call for wine.

If you’re cooking something like a bolognese sauce or curry, cook extra and freeze it in portions. This will be very handy for nights when you can’t be bothered cooking and should weaken the pull of the takeaway outlet.

Plan Ahead

Shopping wisely is key to cutting down on your food waste. Writing a list might seem a bit dull but it’s a surefire way to shop in an organised way. Write a meal plan for one or two weeks and then only buy the ingredients you need for those meals. You might end up getting a few extras and treats but so much less than if you just shop haphazardly.

Less Packaging

Buying food with less packaging obviously reduces packaging waste but it can also cut down on food waste. By buying loose foods such as fruit, meat and even rice and pasta (from weigh houses) you can buy just what you need, rather than having to buy a large pack that you’ll never get through.

Get Creative!

Using up the leftovers that you have can be a good way to come up with new recipes. For one night of the week have a “fridge clear out” meal. It might not sound too apetising but some families come up with their favourite new recipes that way!

Try interesting pasta sauces, soups, curries and pies. If you look online many recipe sites let you search by ingredient so this is a good way to get inspiration.

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