Fighting My Food Waste | #FoodSavvy

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This post is an ad for Environmental Charity Hubbub as a part of their Food Savvy campaign.

If you've been following my #FoodSavvy journey on Twitter, or are taking part yourself, then you'll already know that week 2 has come to an end! To check back on why i'm taking part in the challenge just head over to my previous post. During week 1, I measured and noted down my avoidable food waste. This didn't include things like vegetable peelings or tea bags (phew! I drink a lot of tea), but it did include any food that I had prepared and couldn't finish or that had simply ran out of date or was past its best before. Here's how my first week pan out...


So far so good. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all consumed entirely and no food waste. Yay! 


Oh dear.. I had vowed that I was going to stay away from takeaways, in an effort to save money and also, because I knew this could be disastrous to my food waste weight figure at the end of the week if we ordered too much.. alas the order came and there were one too many chicken balls to handle and unfortunately, quite a lot of the food was binned. I'm usually quite good at saving food for the next day, but I always think reheating takeaway food is a bit risky and I prefer to avoid it (but that's just personal choice). One thing I did realise from ordering a Chinese, is how much of a waste it really was. We didn't really enjoy it, and as I poured the remainder into a bowl on my food scales I was shocked to see nearly 800g of food go straight into the bin. This was a crazy figure, and not only a colossal amount of food to waste from one sitting but a huge waste of money too. However, you'll all be pleased to know that as I write this I have managed to avoid takeaways for the past 2 weeks. Wahoo! 


Sunday is always a roast day in my house (well in the Winter anyway!) and there was surprisingly little waste. Any leftovers we did have were swiftly eaten up by Nala our Cavapoo puppy, who very much appreciated her mini roast of leftover chicken and carrots. The remaining leftovers were packed up for lunch and consumed at work, much to the dismay of jealous colleagues, who were definitely eyeing up my roast potatoes!


Weekday meals are very simple in our household and we try to utilise what we have left over in the freezer. Monday's meal was a Bolognese pasta bake with garlic bread, Tuesday was homemade Chicken Tikka Massala and Wednesday was another Italian classic, Melanzane. The only food item wasted during these 3 days was my poorly Basil plant, which didn't even last the week! I'm not sure why Basil died so quickly, but this is definitely an area of improvement, so if you know how I can take better care of him in future or know some nifty ways to prolong his life then please let me know in the comments!


Another bad day. Breakfast and lunch went by without a blip, but a change in plan at dinner meant a whole Chilli con carne ready-meal went in the bin. I had bought it as a reduced item so it went straight into the freezer for a rainy day.. but as it had been defrosted over night and I had not gotten round to eating it that evening, I didn't want to risk eating it the following day, so it went in the bin. I think studying a PhD in food microbiology makes me super cautious of the food I eat (in a microbiological sense, not a health sense..  I wish I was eating healthier food!) and very stringent of following the food packaging instructions. They're there for a reason! 


Although technically week 1 of the challenge had finished, it was time to go through my fridge and get rid of any food that was out of date. I had a gnarly looking cucumber lurking in the back of my salad draw and half a tub of cream that should of probably been thrown out the previous week. I also had some Kefir, which I had tried once and not managed to drink within 2 days of opening. Again, some people may not follow the guidelines of consuming dairy products within 2/3 days of opening, but I am too much of a germaphobe for that. 

Total= 1.8kg of food waste. Shocking. 


So now that I have realised I have a major problem with food waste, it's time to do something about it. I received my delivery of wonderful products from Lakeland and IKEA and couldn't wait to get started. I was more conscious of meal planning this week, and decided to only plan meals for 4 out of the 7 days, just in case plans changed and we ended up going out over the weekend. I also decided to order my grocery shopping online so that I wasn't tempted to buy unnecessary items at the supermarket. I stuck my meal plan on my fridge door and made sure to check the use by dates on my fresh items, just incase any of my meals needed juggling about to coincide with their use by dates. Leftovers at breakfast and lunch were never an issue for me, so it was only the evening meals I had to be more mindful of. I decided to buy microwaveable rice pouches, instead of free pouring rice into the saucepan this week. Not only did it mean my rice was cooked in record time, but there was also no waste. Any leftovers from my evening meals were stored in my new IKEA PRUTA Food Containers* and taken to work for lunch the next day. 

The banana bag* from Lakeland was a god-send, and even though I was aware that bananas give off a sort of pheromone called ethylene, and know not to store them with other fruits, it was a useful bag to be able to store them in to keep them from over-ripening. The banana bag keeps banana fresh for 2 weeks, when stored in the fridge. The silicone food huggers* from Lakeland are also another great invention, and are the perfect solution for preventing my cucumbers from going mushy ever again. It's also a great way of saving half an onion or pepper, without using cling film, so it's better for the environment too! The Lakeland Stayfresh Longer Vegetable bags* are also ingenious. They are made from a porous polythene film containing a natural Japanese stone powder, which absorbes that pesky ethylene gas excreted by many fruits and vegetables. The Produce ProKeeper* is another neat invention that helps to preserve the life of soft fruits. I haven't managed to put this gadget to the test yet, as I haven't bought any soft fruit, but this container has two vents at either end to create the perfect environment for berries and other fruits. There is also a removable water reservoir that helps to rid the fruit of excess moisture and also doubles as a colander, so fruit can be washed before storage. 

I received some really great products, and although I haven't managed to start using them all this week, hopefully i'll get round to it during the reminder of the challenge. My favourite products so far are the Banana bag and the food huggers! They're just such great inventions and I was really missing these gadgets in my life. 

I've really enjoyed taking part in this challenge so far and I can't wait to see how much food I manage to prevent wasting at the end of the month. There are some other great bloggers taking part in the challenge, so definitely check out their blogs to find out how they are getting on (Catherine, Susie, Cassie, Jax, Lauren and Chiarina). I've already learnt lots of tips from following their journey's about the #FoodSavvy challenge! Thanks to Susie, I know now that you can find out what to do with any leftover ingredients by using the BBC good food recipe finder! 

How have you got on with the #FoodSavvy challenge this week?


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