Waste not want not

Local mushrooms at The Garden Market at EynshamAs we approach the end of our first week of eating on a budget, I take a look in our fridge and it is beginning to look bare. My first thought is ‘what are we going to eat over the weekend’? We usually have plenty of options to choose from. This thought however, is closely followed by the realisation that for the first time in a long while, I don’t have lots of food that has reached its sell-by-date, or is going mouldy at the back of the fridge and needs to be thrown away.

Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten.

Wasting this food costs an average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month.

That’s over 50% of the entire budget we’re aiming to meet for January 2015!

There are two main reasons why we throw away good food: we cook or prepare too much or we don’t use it in time. The foods we waste the most are fresh vegetables and salad, drink, fresh fruit, and baked items such as bread and cakes.

Yes our meals this week have been a little less exciting, and we’ve often eaten leftovers for lunch that we haven’t really fancied. But on the plus side we HAVE LESS WASTE!

I’ve noticed myself scrimping on every item. I’m using less butter and oil when I cook. I scrub carrots instead of peeling, so as not to waste the skins. I’ve even thought of 3 different things I can do with a humble cabbage! Yes we’ve eaten cabbage 3 times this week, and have I had any complains? No, because locally organic produce tastes great! Plus, I’ve valued my vegetable more than normal and treated it with respect. I’ve tried to be imaginative with what we’ve got, and yes it’s taken more time and energy but if that’s going to improve our health and finances then it’s worth it!

Crustless spinach quicheI’ve noticed my daughter who can be fussy, eating well this week. Perhaps it’s because she’s back at school and hungry, but maybe it’s because there are none of the usual snacks she might fill up on. I’ve taken a ‘this is it, or there’s nothing else’ approach and it seems to have worked. After all, not liking certain foods is a 1st world problem. You wouldn’t hear a child in Africa complain that they didn’t want to eat the dinner their mum had prepared.

We’ve all become too choosy, too wasteful, and that includes me too! If there’s something I’ve been taught this week, it’s that we can eat less and not want for more.

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