With rising living costs, so many of us are trying to work out how to stretch our budgets and make more of our existing resources. According to WRAP, a typical family with children wastes the equivalent of eight meals a week on average, which costs each family around £60 per month.
We’ve asked our staff, supporters and followers to share their top tips for avoiding food waste. Take a look at the below and consider implementing a few of these ideas into your routine.
Possibly the most important tip when it comes to avoiding food waste. However you shop – in person or online – having an idea of the meals you want to make over the next few days or weeks means you’ll be less likely to overspend on ingredients you won’t get a chance to use. Bear in mind that fresh fruit and veg are some of the most thrown away foods.
Make the most of your freezer
If you have access to freezer space, use it to keep your food fresh for longer. Keep an eye on your fresh fruit and veg to see if any of them are on the brink of going off. Many of these, such as carrots, peppers, aubergines, green beans and more can be chopped up and frozen for later use. The same goes for bread, cakes and all kinds of leftovers. Portioning up batch-cooked meals will mean you can make the most of your ingredients, as well as saving yourself cooking time later.
Use the whole fruit/vegetable
If you’re in the habit of peeling your carrots, potatoes or butternut squash, you may want to rethink. You save time and avoid throwing away a perfectly tasty – and extra nutritious – part of your ingredients. If you’ve been binning or composting broccoli stalks and cauliflower leaves, why not try including them in your dishes? You could also keep a tub in the freezer to fill with vegetable scraps, which can be boiled up and made into stock further down the line.
Pay attention to storage
Did you know that you can extend the shelf life of lots of products by storing them differently? Storing half an onion or red pepper in a reusable Ziploc bag or snap-top box in the fridge will keep it fresh for longer. Your apples and bananas will also last longer in the fridge. The banana skins will discolour, but the fruit will be just fine.
Keep an eye on your ingredients
If you’re not sure what you fancy eating, get into the habit of checking what is likely to go off soon and get ahead of the game by using it up. If you’re short on ideas, a quick Google is likely to throw up some interesting options. For example, you can whizz a slightly wilted bag of salad up into a pesto or a soup. Overripe bananas can be frozen and turned into ice cream (if you have a strong blender) or made into pancakes or banana bread.
If you like to try new recipes, it’s easy to end up with a cupboard full of ingredients you won’t use again for months. If you’re tempted to make a recipe with a herb or spice you don’t own, it’s worth Googling whether anything you already have could make a good substitution. Similarly – if your recipe calls for couscous, but you only have rice – don’t feel bound to follow it exactly. Combining foods in new ways may help you to land on a new family favourite.
If you would like to find more budgeting tips then please visit our Live Vegan for Less campaign webpage.
You can also share your food waste hacks with us on our social channels, tagging #LiveVeganForLess – we’ll be resposting our favourites!
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.