Food Waste is a HUGE issue.
Australians throw out the equivalent of 1 in every 5 bags of groceries they buy. That’s about $1000 each year. Food waste fills up our landfill creating greenhouse gases which are bad for the environment. Fighting food waste is EASY. By making a few simple changes you can save money and help save the planet. For more info see here.
1. Only buy what you need
Reducing your food waste starts before you go to the shops. Try and plan your meals around the things you already have in the pantry, fridge and freezers. Then make a list of what you need, this will help stop you from buying things you don’t need.
2. Store your food correctly
Did you know it’s best not to keep bread in the fridge? Either keep it in a cool place in the pantry or freeze it. By storing food correctly, you can cut down on waste. In the fridge, store meat and poultry on lower shelves and fruit and vegetables in the vegetable drawers. Check your fridge is below five degrees and freeze foods before their use-by dates. Use airtight containers to store food in the fridge and open packets of food in the pantry. There are lots of websites that show you how to store different foods – see Oz Harvest.
3. Know the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’
A ‘use by’ date is put on food that may become unsafe if stored for too long. Don’t eat anything that is past its ‘use by’ date.
Food with a ‘best before‘ date is still safe to eat after the recorded date as long as it is not damaged or has not ‘gone off’ such as growing mould or starting to smell. A ‘best before’ date simply indicates that the food may lose some of its quality after this date. So, don’t throw food out just because its past its best before date. For more information see the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.
4. Get creative in the kitchen and love those leftovers
Check what food you have and think about what you could create with it. Take a look at our recipes for inspiration.
Don’t be scared of wilted vegetables. There are plenty of recipes that can take your old, bruised, wilting and wrinkled food and transform them into something delicious. Throw your mushy tomatoes into a pasta sauce, your floppy zucchini into a fritter and soft carrots into fried rice. Use the search button in the top right-hand corner of the Healthy Lunch Box website to find recipes that will use what you need to use up.
Add leftover roast chicken to soup, roast vegies in a couscous salad, and rice to make our delicious chicken burrito bowl. Don’t forget to add leftovers to a toasted sandwich or rolling up into a wrap.
5. Use your freezer
Learn more about what foods can be frozen. You can freeze things like bread, cooked rice and pasta, grated cheese and milk. It’s safe to freeze food right up to the use-by date, and then defrost in the fridge when you want to use it. Don’t forget to freeze leftovers in single serves for a quick and easy meal. Search the Healthy Lunch Box website for our recipes tagged “easy to freeze”.
Using these tips to reduce your food waste will save you money, time and our planet!