A New Years resolution you should keep: How to reduce food waste

Having grown up in a single parent household….food waste in our family was just not a thing….My South American mum was always very inventive when it came to food and lack of money meant she needed to be very resourceful. This is something I think most people from my generation can resonate with.

Unfortunately this just isn’t the case for most of us anymore. Lack of time dictates that convenience is king which means very few of us know or think about what the contents of our fridge are at the end of a long day.

According to Food Cloud Irish households throw away €700 of food a year. 1m tonnes of food is thrown away by Irish consumers and businesses every year yet 1 in 8 Irish people experience food poverty.

The price of food and the plethora of cheap deals to encourage us to buy more and more has escalated beyond belief and is causing us to buy more and more with no real need or understanding of the impact that this food waste is having on our environment (and our pocket) both for ourselves and for future generations.

With this in mind I’d like to give you some tips to help you reduce food waste in the home.

1. Plan – no one likes spending their well deserved weekend to plan their food for the week…but just taking a few minutes on the weekend to contemplate what the following week looks like could save you a lot of time and money. Take some time to look up some recipes you’ve been meaning to try out or save them as you see them and revisit them now. Add these to your shopping list. Get excited about cooking again rather than seeing it as a weekly chore.

2. Be realistic – Yes I know they are cheap but do you really need the multi deal on potatoes which means unless you’re a family of 10 you’ll be eating them for weeks? Consider how much you will actually use not just the cost.

3. Shop as needed – this is particularly useful if you aren’t sure of your plans for the week. So many were brought up with the weekly shop a regular feature of the week but does this really suit the modern day lifestyle? Shop as needed and only buy as much as you need.

4. Know your portion sizes – Knowing your portion sizes will really help you not to waste food. Think in terms of the plate. Ideally your plate should consist of a palm sized portion of protein or a quarter of your plate, a handful of starchy carbohydrates or a quarter of your plate and the rest should predominantly be made up of vegetables. Keeping this in mind will help you plan how much you should be cooking!

5. Be inventive – so you might not feel so creative after a hard days slog at work but cooking can be a wonderful way to relax. Get inventive and recreate your leftovers rather than throw them out. You never know you might discover your inner Gordon Ramsey!

6. Rethink your meals – we are programmed to think of certain foods as breakfast, lunch and dinner foods. Having leftover veggies for breakfast might seem odd at first but other cultures have been doing this for centuries and its a great way of testing your taste buds, upping your nutrient intake and helping food waste to boot. A win win all round.

And lastly be more aware of how much food you are throwing away. If you see you are constantly throwing away a certain thing question why and how you can stop/reduce the amount you are wasting.

What do you think? Is food waste a problem for you?

What do you do to reduce food waste?

Lauren

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