Happy New Year all! If you’re thinking about taking on a new year resolution for the good of the planet, why not give reducing your food waste a go? This can be tricky alongside ‘new year, new me’ resolutions which tend to focus on weight loss in the aftermath of 2 solid weeks of chocolate for breakfast and booze with every meal. So here are my top tips on reducing waste without sacrificing the diet.
Everything in moderation
Don’t immediately throw out the last few chocolates in that box you opened on Christmas day. Just because you’re dieting it does not mean you have to completely deprive yourself. In fact, it’s quite likely that this type of deprivation behaviour will lead to lapses where you binge all your favourite treats. A much healthier way of approaching diets is to see it as a lifestyle change towards a healthier way of living, rather than a ‘diet’. Keep you main meals healthy and balanced and don’t beat yourself up if you have one or two chocolates every now and then.
2 Repurpose the booze
If you’re like me and have been completely unwillingly dragged in to Dry January by a cruel cruel loved one, you may be feeling like the best way to go is to dump out all the half-drunk bottles of wine you have left over from last night. DON’T DO IT. Once opened, most wines will last around 2 weeks, so you have 2 weeks to use them up in your cooking and it doesn’t count as drinking – can you say loophole? Red wines are great in pasta sauces so add in a splash for added flavour and minimal extra calories to a delicious and nutritional vegetable pasta sauce.
Also, if you aren’t going to get round to using all your opened booze in the next 2 weeks, you can pour the wine in to ice cube trays and freeze them. Once frozen, pop them out and store them in a labelled Tupperware box in the freezer. This will buy a few extra months to use them and they can be thrown, still in ice cube form, straight in to sauces, stocks and gravies.
3. Get the friends over for a games night
Got lots of extra nibbles leftover from the new years party? Why not invite over friends for a movie or games night and serve up all your extras? A great way to bring in the new year with your friends and avoid the temptation of booze of empty calories by going out.
4. Weigh the waste
And if you get really serious about dedicating this year to food waste, why not start off by measuring how much you waste so you can track your progress throughout the year? It’s so much easier to figure out where you’re going wrong and start setting targets if you track your waste. Just keep a tub for food waste in your kitchen and separate out normal waste into your regular waste and food waste into the tub (Pro tip: I use a large Tupperware pot so I can keep a lid on it and prevent any smells). Before you start, make a note of the weight of the tub then once a week (or more frequently), weight your waste and make a note of it. At the same time, it can help if you make a quick note of where the majority of the waste came from: was it food from the plate, from the fridge or from the pan? As the weeks go by you can figure out your weak spots and start changing any wasteful behaviours like cooking too much.
Well, that's it for now, Happy New Year again and may 2020 bring you all you wish for.
The Food Waste Doctor x