Food waste happens easily in family kitchens. But by just changing some small things that we do, we could considerably reduce that waste. I have gathered in this article a few tactics that I use myself so that our family would create less leftovers and could use up the ones we can’t avoid.
September 29th is the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. According to the UN, globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households(!!!), 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).
These numbers are scary. Especially knowing that there is a part of the World where hunger is a real threat and the size of this part is slowly growing every year.
If we can move the needle even a microscopic bit just by taking tiny actions every day, I think it is the least we can do! If everyone made reducing food waste part of their everyday habits, the World could actually change a towards the better. So let’s start changing the World!
Here are my 5 Tips to Reducing Food Waste on our family level.
1. Meal Plan systematically
I cannot stress enough the importance of meal planning. In addition to it being very good for your wallet, it will also make you waste so much less food. If you think your week through you can buy only what is necessary for the meals and won’t have those “just-in-case” things crowding your refrigerator. You can also plan on having things that don’t perish at equal speed (fresh fish should be eaten during the first days, slow-cooked meat can wait for a few days if needed etc).
2. Use up leftover vegetables and greens to make soup
Soup os a perfect comforting food and also a wonderful zero-waste cleanup meal! Try out my green soup recipe the next time you have a bunch of radish of carrot leaves lying around. Or make a mixed vegetable soup with whatever you have around. Honestly, the soups are marvelous because you can try so many different combinations and most of them are delicious!
3. Make smoothies
Smoothie is a genius breakfast! It’s quick, kids are often ok to at least taste a milkshake and you can have lots of fresh and nutritious foods in the body straight in the morning. Also if you have a house like mine, smoothies are a great way to use up leftover fruit, nut milks or yogurts. You know, those 3 pieces of mango that someone left on their plate last evening or these half-eaten bananas that all of the kids demanded at snack-time…
If you need smoothie inspiration you can see my post with our top 5 kid-favorites or get my Good Mood Food Guide with 5 smoothie recipes as a bonus.
4. Bake up the leftovers
Don’t let these overripe bananas (or you know the half-bitten ones) go bad. Or those two zucchinis you bought too many by accident. Or the pumpkin that sits on the shelf for an eternity already. Make banana bread / zucchini bread / pumpkin bread! There are so many snacking cake versions to try out and what better excuse that getting rid of leftovers!
You can try out my favorite banana bread recipe the next time you need to clean up the fruit basket😉.
5. Use your freezer!
If you see that you won’t be able to use up all the meat or fish you have in the refrigerator, freeze it! The same goes for fruit and vegetables. You can also freeze cookie dough (find out the best tricks for freezing chocolate chip cookies in my blog post) or even cut up the bread that’s gone stale to make homemade croutons.
So there you have it. Five small actions that can definitely reduce the waste amount in your house. Let me know if you got some inspiration from these ideas and share your own tips in the comments!