How to use Food Wisely: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

October 14, 2016

While this is not really a usual food topic, it is certainly one that is close to my heart.  Recycling is such a big part of my family life.  We recycle pretty much whatever we can.  Not much is collected from our street so my very kind Mom gets car loads of our waste to drop off at her local recycling centre in Hillcrest *Thanks Mom!

With a a large proportion of our worldwide production of food going unused it seems crazy to consider there are people starving in the world.  And, with our current water shortage in South Africa – we should really consider how to use food more wisely to reduce the impact on the environment.

Some of the most common causes of food wastage are:

  • Buying in bulk and then excess food going to waste
  • Buying foods that the family (this is often children) do not like
  • Eating out when you planned foods at home
  • Defrosting food outside the fridge/freezer and forgetting that you left it out and it goes off
  • Over cooking food that is then no longer tasty
  • Allowing foods to expire in your cupboards
  • Buying out of season, while not a waste necessarily but the impact it has on the environment to bring these foods to us come at great cost

Ways we can really work at reducing our environmental impact through our food are to try some of these tips:

  1. Buy seasonally.
  2. Make a shopping list and buy only what you need.
  3. Freeze fruit to use in smoothies or baking if it is going off and you are arent able to consume it all.
  4. Cook and freeze vegetables that are still looking tasty before they go off when they are not needed (this can also apply to vegetables on sale).  Just make sure you have sufficient freezer storage space.
  5. If you buy something that you intend to use for one purpose – be creative if you don’t use it and find an alternative use for that food instead.
  6. Aim to buy only delicious looking foods (particularly
    veg & fruit) – families are less keen to eat foods that look bruised or damaged in any way.  However if this situation arises, cut around the offending section and make a fruit salad of the tasty bits.
  7. Only defrost meats in the fridge.
  8. Clear your cupboards out often to avoid tinned foods going to waste.  Taking note of expiry dates and then deciding on recipes that will use these foods up.
  9. Go through your freezer as well and note dates you placed those foods in the freezer and make sure you use them up within a certain time frame.
  10. Designate one meal of the week to “leftovers” and create an unusual but delicious meal using up leftovers in the fridge.
  11. Avoid buying foods that has been packed using too much packaging – better yet make your own bags (or find a stockist).  Here are mine that I made that I use when I am shopping 🙂

There are so many other great ways to help the environment.  Is there perhaps something that I have left off on this list? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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