By Josi Trotter
Recently I’ve noticed a real shift in social media towards the need to be more sustainable in our lifestyles to protect the planet we live on. It’s also important to realise that this isn’t the only benefit… in so many ways being sustainable can save us money and it has the potential to improve our health too. Like any lifestyle change, it might feel hard work at first but once it becomes a habit to reduce the food we waste, it will feel like second nature.
Why do it?
According to the Independent, 7.3 million tonnes of household food waste thrown away in 2015 could have been eaten, this equates to about £13billion. That’s a lot! It’s also pretty difficult to swallow knowing the crazy numbers of people in the UK and across the rest of the world who live in poverty and can’t afford to eat, yet so much good food is thrown away. With a risk of sounding a little preachy, it just seems crazy there being so much waste when there are such easy ways to reduce it, let me see if I can convince you.
Easy ways to reduce food waste
It really is easier than you think, there are some really simple ways of reducing the amount of food that ends up in the bin and it involves some delicious new meals too!
The day I learnt how many uses there were for frozen bananas, my life changed dramatically. I used to buy a big batch of bananas at the start of the week and by day 3 or 4 there were just too many little brown spots for my liking. Now instead of throwing them away, they go straight into the freezer ready to be used whenever an ice cream craving hits – the even better thing is that you can make a variety of meals depending how much milk you add… barely any milk gets you ice cream, a bit more gets you a smoothie bowl and even more gets you a smoothie. I absolutely love smoothie bowls (especially with Vanilla MissFits protein) and they make a perfect breakfast or dessert, mainly because you can top them with whatever you fancy.
A failsafe way of reducing how much you spend on food, how much you throw away AND making sure your food is always unprocessed and full of wholesome veggies, even when you’ve had no time to get to the supermarket. There is nothing better after a long day at working than knowing there is a yummy portion of cottage pie, chilli, curry or whatever else waiting in the fridge for you – and making it yourself means you know exactly what has gone into it and that it is going to be full of good stuff. Portion control is also so important, I used to put way too much on the plate then food ended up getting thrown away. One easy way around this is to buy smaller plates, that way you can’t overload yourself with food and you’ll only go back for seconds if you’re really hungry (so its good for reducing waste and for your health!)
Ready steady cook
I feel so old suggesting this, but if you remember the TV show from years back you’d know the basic premise is to take a pile of ingredients and make your recipe from that, rather than buying ingredients to fit a recipe. The benefit of doing this is that you won’t forget about things, meaning they get left to go off. Before you rush to the supermarket to buy food for dinner, get out whatever you can find in the fridge and get creative!
Soups and smoothies
They never look the prettiest but soups and smoothies are some of the easiest things to make. They are also an amazing way to get rid of any veggies which are a bit past their best. For soups, I chuck in all the veg I can find in a pan with loads of herbs, spices and vegetable stock and leave to simmer, you can then choose to blitz until smooth or eat a chunky soup instead. For smoothies, I always throw in some greens along with any fresh or frozen fruit I can find, chia seeds, flaxseeds, nuts or nut butter, I then add a scoop of protein and some form of alternative milk (purely because I don’t like cows milk) and jobs a goodun. This makes the perfect on the go breakfast so is perfect for people who love that ‘no time for breakfast’ excuse! Soups and smoothies are perfect for when fruit and veg is just past its best, so often we choose to throw away food when it could easily be eaten just in a different way.
So there you have it, some pretty easy ways to reduce the amount of food we throw away, therefore reducing the amount we spend on food and the more use we get from all the nutrients which previously ended up in the bin! I honestly don’t think any of these lifestyle changes are groundbreaking and some you may already do, but until recently I’d never thought about how much of a positive effect these changes could make as part of the bigger picture. Being more sustainable doesn’t have to mean changing everything, every little thing does help!