One of the key things to avoid food waste is preparation. Preparation means that you know what you have, and you know what you’re going to do with it.
Last week I gave one of my top tips for avoiding food waste; if you cant see everything in your fridge at first glance you have too much. This not only avoids ‘losing’ something to the back and beyond, or having so much that some of it goes off. It also means that when you’re cooking you don’t forget to add anything into the recipe!
The weekly assessment for what my veg box has brought me, and what i’ll be making with it throughout the week!
When I moved away from home, the first thing I had to learn was what are the crucial ingredients to a successful kitchen. Meaning that when someone came over for a cup of tea, I didn’t suddenly panic because I had ran out of milk, or when looking in the fridge and realising there really aren’t any ingredients to make a meal from. This lead to a bit of stockpiling behaviour which ultimately resulted in always having supplies, however wasting a lot of food. I think this is something we all struggle with. Over packing cupboards and fridges because we are scared of running out of food. Reducing food waste requires a mindset change. Moving from huge weekly or fortnightly shops, towards a fresher approach; buying what you need when you need it. Yes, it is still good to have your pantry items stocked, however stockpiling perishables is what leads to waste.
Meal prepping is one of the easiest things to do to avoid wasting food, and once you’re in the habit it just becomes part of your routine. This also helps speed up your shopping as you know exactly what you need. It’s going back to the shopping list era. Here are some of the reasons why meal prepping is golden.
Lots of veggies about to be roasted for both dinners and soups!
Reduces food waste. You don’t buy more food than you need.
Saves money. See above.
Saves time. Not only will you save time whizzing around buying your food, you’ll save time during the week because you have a concrete plan of what to make.
Reduces stress. I work well with lists. When I have a to-do list, I feel more accomplished and much more in control of my day/week/year. This is the same with meal prepping, feeling in control over your diet.
Improves your diet. Being more organised means less panic snacking or junk food resorts. Having a solid plan for the week means regardless of the day you’ve had, you know your dinner is sorted, and all the ingredients are waiting in the kitchen to be cooked up into a storm!
Improves taste. We all have those days when you don’t have a clue what to make, and in all honesty you couldn’t care less. You’re hungry and want something no-fuss and semi-quick. This is when meal prepping comes in handy. Whereas before you might reach for a cop out meal of cheese on toast, or anything on toast really, you’ve got a whole meal planned (and potentially prepped) to quickly make up!
Pancakes are a great meal for a weekend brunch, and use up lots of fruit – these even have banana in the batter!
Meal planning doesn’t necessary mean restrictions or a strict set or rules. You can plan all your breakfasts, lunches and dinners if you want, or prep the ones you regularly struggle with. For a little example I’ve written down below a kind of picture of how my week looks:
Simple breakfast, but means I have no waste in my mornings – 0.5 cup of oats with 1 cup of any milk of your choice, microwave for 3 mins and boom!
Breakfast: porridge with milk and whatever fruit has come in my veg box delivery
Lunch: each week I make a big batch of soup from the veg in my box and this goes along with some slices of sour dough bread
Dinner: this is a bit of a mix, normally having a couple of big potatoes in helps for a baked potato dinner, then lots of pasta/rice/quinoa dishes which include salad and veg from my box. This is normally the meal which varies because I like to change it up. I always have things like pesto, chopped tomatoes and some beans/pulses in the cupboards which are invaluable.
Snacks: tend to be fruits and anything that I have baked that week, everything else tends to come in packaging!
This soup had onion, leek, carrot, turnip and parsnip, and made 5 portions which is great for my weekday lunches!
Some tips for meal planning:
- Look in the fridge before you start, base meals on what you already have
- Adding in new meals for the rest of the week, this is what you need to buy for
- Make sure to take a shopping list so you know exactly what you need
- Don’t be scared to bulk make something; soup is a saver, so are batches of pasta sauces, curries and casserole type dishes – these freeze great!
- If you have time during the week, a bit of actual food prep is perfect, washing, peeling, and chopping veg is just one example that saves you time on the day!
Why not next week try to meal prep? Don’t feel you have to stick specific meals to specific days, be fluid and enjoy the cooking! Meal prepping is crucial to avoid food waste which is such a massive emitter or carbon into the atmosphere, not to mention a waste of your money!
IN PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT FOOD BLOG WE WANT TO SEE YOUR BEST FOOD WASTE SAVING TIPS! USE THE #FOODWASTESZ TO SHARE WHAT YOU FIND, AND SOME OF THE BEST WILL BE FEATURED!