When I was in my first year at University, I threw away far more food than I care to admit. I found it hard to use up foods that didn’t have a long shelf life, such as lettuce and berries. It was the first time I was responsible for doing my own food shop and I would spontaneously buy random food instead of planning out my meals and just getting the necessary ingredients. It was a learning curve and I wish someone had shared these tips with me a lot sooner!
My top tips to tackle food waste:
- Freeze food
You can freeze most food and buying frozen fruit and veg can sometimes be more nutritious as it’s frozen at the peak of freshness! When buying reduced food, check on the package to see if it’s suitable for freezing so that you can make it last longer.
2. Meal plan
Writing a rough meal plan for the week and sticking to those ingredients when doing your food shop will ensure that you don’t waste food and will help you save money! I love looking at recipe books and foodie accounts for inspo on quick budget meals that don’t need loads of ingredients.
I’ve recently invested in weighing scales so that I can take the correct measurements for recipes. Investing in measuring spoons could also be helpful. One thing I always struggled with measuring correctly was pasta, but now I measure 1 mug of pasta for 1 serving and it’s perfect for me.
4. Understanding sell by dates
With fruit and veg, my motto is, if it smells fine, looks fine and has no white or fluffy bits then it is probably edible. Buying reduced food can save so much money and I have bought more luxurious items when reduced, such as Beyond Meat burgers from £5 to £2.
5. Tinned food
Some people shy away from tinned food as they are worried about its nutritional content, but it can be a cheap, healthy and accessible option for many. I always like to have a stock of tinned beans, chickpeas, coconut milk and chopped tomatoes as they have a long shelf life and are great for making curries, chillies and soups.
So, there are my top tips. Going to university and learning to live on your own, for the first time for a lot of people, is really difficult – I hope these tips are useful for helping one aspect of learning to live alone and look after yourself.
Food Waste Action Week: March 1st – 7th