Are you looking for ways to save money? Love Food Hate Waste report that each month, the average family in the UK bins £60 of uneaten food. In fact, the European Commission concluded the UK is the largest producer of food waste in the EU.
The journal of Environmental Research Letters published a study showing up to 80% of food waste is avoidable. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre led the work and spokesperson for the study, Davy Vanham evaluated,
‘In some ways it’s good that this waste is avoidable, because it means we’re able to do something about it. A lot of food is still good but is thrown away when it passes its sell-by date.’
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So, how can you minimise your food waste? Here are some simple tips you can apply to see the difference in your wallet and bin at the end of the month.
Plan your Meals
Plan what you need for a week’s worth of meals. This is cheaper than buying individual meals daily. Check your cupboards to see what ingredients you already have before going to the shop to stop you from buying things you don’t need. Don’t forget to take your shopping list to the supermarket as this will cut down on impulse buys.
Execute portion control!
People are often guilty of making far too much food and then the leftovers end up in the bin. All packets give recommended servings per person. Pay attention to these when cooking and weigh you food to get the portions correct. This will stop you making too much and running out of food so fast and cut down on your waste. If you do have leftovers, freeze them and use them as part of another meal later. For a perishable item that you can only buy in a large quantity, such as a loaf of bread, freeze it on the day of purchase and defrost the number of desired slices as and when you need them.
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Make extra portions for freezing
When you make lunch or dinner, make enough for a few meals and freeze the rest. That way it could be used for pack lunches or dinner on a night you’re pressed for time. Make sure you get your portions right and don’t eat more just because there’s more in the pot!
Keep in mind what the dates on the packaging means
Use By – The date the food has to be eaten by. Do not keep for longer than this date.
Best Before – The food will be at its optimum condition before this date but can still be consumed after this date although it will gradually lose quality of taste and texture.
Sell By – Used by shops to determine how long they should keep the items on their shelves. You do not need to eat the food by this date.
Display Until – Also used by shops to determine how long they should keep the items on their shelves. You do not need to eat the food by this date.
If you remember what the dates mean, it could prevent you from throwing out perfectly good food that could be eaten.
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Keep track of what’s in your fridge and use your freezer more
Keep track of what’s in your fridge. Go through it and move older food to the front and newer food to the back. Check the ‘use by’ dates on the food and if you think you won’t manage to eat certain things before this date, put them in the freezer so you don’t miss the deadlines and end up having to through them in the bin.
If you have a tendency to forget fresh food or run out of space in the fridge, try canned foods and frozen options instead. This way you’ll have the same ingredients but less wastage.