Preventing food waste is something I’m very passionate about so when the social charity Hubbub contacted me about taking part in their food waste campaign #ExpressYourShelf I said yes immediately.
I grew up in a very thrifty household were both my mum and dad appreciated food and rarely threw food away. And I have followed suit. The only thing that goes in my food waste bin at home is vegetable and fruit peelings and teabags. Very rarely would meat, bread, dairy or fruit and veg be thrown out. Often if there are just a few bits and pieces in the fridge and cupboards I like the challenge of rustling up a meal using just a few ingredients. This is usually when I am most creative in the kitchen!
The #ExpressYourShelf challenge is a partnership driven by Hubbub, Tesco and Love Food Hate Waste. They challenged myself and a handful of bloggers across the UK to be savvy with food and prevent any food waste all week. And of course everyone in the UK was encouraged all week to join in the challenge and #ExpressYourShelf.
Throughout the week I have been inspired by the other food fighter challengers and their innovative ways of valuing food and reducing waste. From amazing food recipes from fellow bloggers Pikalily and Daisies and Pie to excellent food storage advice from hoards of people following the challenge on Twitter.
For me, ensuring there is no food waste in the home has a lot to do with smart shopping and good meal preparation. So with this is mind, here are my tips for shopping wisely and cooking with compassion to reduce food waste in your home.
SUPERMARKET SENSE – MY TIPS FOR COMBATING FOOD WASTE
- LOOK IN YOUR FRIDGE & KITCHEN CUPBOARDS BEFORE YOU GO. You’ll be surprised how easily you forget what you have/don’t have. When it comes to perishable items like fruit and veg you definitely don’t want to be buying more that you need for the week ahead.
- MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED & TACKLE THE ISLES WITH CONFIDENCE. On occasions when I don’t make a list I end up meandering through each and every food isle slowly scanning everything incase I forget something important. If armed with a list, you’ll be able to go straight to where you need to go and be less swayed to put unnecessary items in your trolley.
- DON’T SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. We’ve all heard this tip before but it’s worth repeating. I often do a big food shop after work as I hate to do it over my weekend. I’ll put a banana and bottle of water in my handbag to have before or during my shop to stave off hunger pangs. This reduces the likelihood of me over-buying and over-indulging in the snack isle.
- CHECK THE USE BY DATES. How often have you ended up putting a packet of ham or tub of coleslaw in your trolley not realising the use by date is just a day or two away? Often if you put your hand to the back of the food display you’ll get a better use by date and, hopefully, decrease the likelihood of food waste.
COOK WITH COMPASSION – MY TIPS FOR A LIVING A WASTE FREE LIFE
- BATCH COOKING IS BRILLIANT. I love to cook from scratch and rarely buy convenience meals, but even I don’t want to spend every evening cooking. I’ll batch cook on a Sunday so I have meals ready to heat up on Monday and Tuesday. It’s so nice to know that I have dinner ready and waiting on a Monday after work. My favourite meals to batch cook are stew, spaghetti bolognese and casserole/curry dishes.
- LEFTOVERS ARE YOUR FRIEND. Don’t you dare throw out those last bits of chicken from the Sunday roast! Strip the chicken for all it’s worth and use the pieces to make a chicken veg pie or yummy curry or casserole dish. You’ll be amazed how far the chicken stretches when you add some veg and a sauce to the equation.
- MAKE SOUPS NOT WAR. Homemade soups are nutritious, delicious and ridiculously quick and easy to make. All you need is a big pot, your favourite root vegetable, an onion, some spices and stock and you’re good to go. My favourite soups are carrot and corriander and curried parsnip – and I have recipes for both on the blog!
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF LESS THAN FRESH FRUIT & VEG. I’m all for buying fresh fruit and veg and I buy a wide variety of them every week. If I’m left with slightly out of date veggies I certainly don’t chuck them out. I give them a good wash, pop them in a roasting pan and drizzle them with olive oil and plenty of seasoning before oven roasting them for 3o minutes. And if my fruit have seen better days I blitz them to make a smoothie or bake something with them – like these blueberry muffins!
- NEVER FORGET TO BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR FREEZER. Seriously what did people do before freezers were invented? Freezers allow us to get longer out of our food and take advantage of multi-buy bargains. I love a good food bargain and if I strike it lucky in the reduced food section, I’ll make sure the items I select can be frozen for whenever I want to use them.
What are your top tips for preventing food waste?