Let’s have a more thoughtful, caring and reflective Christmas - for each other and our planet. Starting with our food.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or simply enjoy taking time out during the festive bank holiday, it can often get busy and chaotic with all the preparations and activities going on which can result in a lot of food being thrown in the bin. Let’s give our food and our planet a little more thought.
It’s a great opportunity to learn a few simple hacks to help us be more flexible around food, helping to create a little more calm while keeping an eye on our pennies and our planet too.
Did you know: *The greenhouse gas emissions associated with a year's worth of potatoes thrown away from UK homes is capable of melting almost 1 million square meters of Arctic Ice! Spare a thought for polar bears who rely on Arctic ice to hunt for food to see them through the warmer months.
Top tips on how to stay food savvy:
- There's no need for over-buying food - Supermarkets will be open for most days in December – they generally only close for the bank holidays.
- Consider the edible life of the food you are buying and the space you realistically have for keeping it fresh.
- Limit the ‘buy just in case we need it’ food for food you fancy during the week ahead – rather than three weeks ahead. It’s often these ‘just in case’ foods that we don’t eat in time and chuck in the bin.
- Check what food you already have in your home – find easy ways to help you remember what you’ve got so that you can use this up first and avoid doubling up on food you already have.
- Eat me first shelf – why not use the top shelf in your fridge for food that is close to the end of its edible life? Use this food to make simple lunches or tasty snacks.
- Shelfie – take a quick photo of what’s in your fridge and cupboards to remind you what you already have just before you pop to the shops.
- Be ready for quick simple meals - keep your cupboard stocked up with things like dried rice and pasta and tinned veg and pulses so that you can easily make your winter warming favourites with leftovers like risotto, soups and curries. Also, remember to keep your quick and simple recipes to hand or tagged in your recipe books.
- Plan ahead – consider the space you need in your fridge, freezer and cupboards to store your festive food at least a week or two ahead of buying the bulk of your festive food.
- Ensure you have enough time to use up the food you already have in your home to avoid chucking it in the bin when you realise there’s no space for the food you’ve just bought.
- How much do food you really need? – Our perceptions of how much we need often differs from what we can actually eat. Take the guesswork out of shopping and from preparing / serving meals by using our Portion Planner. You could also read ‘Food for children – me-sized meals’ for tips when feeding your little ones.
- Build in some flexibility – make friends with your freezer and store some food you can heat up quickly, particularly helpful if you need more for unexpected visitors, and keep space free for freezing food that can’t be eaten due to last minute changes.
- Stress free storage – use our quick and simple A-Z of food storage to remind you of the best places to keep your food fresher for longer.
- Use up those leftovers to make tasty scrumptious meals.
- Winter warming recipes – check out our recipes for ideas for simple one pot wonders to use up all your odd bits of food that needs eating. Simply type your leftover foods into the recipes search bar for a selection of tasty recipes.
- Picky teas – give yourself a break and set the table up with a 'Picky tea' – a spread of all your food that needs using up, made famous by BBC Radio One DJ Jordon North. This is a great way to cater for those with allergies, dietary needs and fussy eaters too. A real bonus is that many people often take only what they'll eat and go back for seconds if they are still hungry - reducing the amount of food that ends up in the bin. Remember to keep the food labels to hand to check the ingredients.
Consider the value of your food – it deserves to be eaten and not binned
There are some great alternative options for food you can’t eat than the bin. Remember to consider the value of your food both in terms of our planet’s resources that have been used to make or produce it, and the difference it could make to someone else who may be struggling in your community.
Some easy ways to use up edible food you haven’t opened and either can’t eat or don't have space for:
- Food banks – check with your local food bank for food they are short of and donate your unopened food instead. You could also consider donating to your food bank while you are shopping as there’s often a collection point in supermarkets. Check the Trussel Trust or your local authority and council websites to find your local food bank.
- Local community food sharing apps – download a food sharing app like Olio and share your food with your local community.
*Source: WRAP Household Food Waste Restated Data 2007-2016, WWF.