Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the amount of food that we, as a nation waste? Do you ever feel guilty when you go to a pub and order a ‘chicken schnitty’ that comes out looking like a whole steroid induced chicken on your plate and you are lucky to eat half of it? I do.
Portion control is not my strong point, however my portions still have some semblance of control. I might not be able to get up off the lounge for 15 minutes after dinner but I can still finish my meal. I am not talking about gluttony; I am talking about total waste.
How can any restaurant justify tossing out half the food they serve? How can they not notice what is going in the bin? It might only be a plateful of potato chips, but those chips could feed an entire family in war-torn and famine ravaged countries.
I have drummed this into my children since they were tiny. They would occasionally come home from school with a half-eaten soggy sandwich and would hear the same line from me every time…..
“Why didn’t you eat your lunch? There are starving people in the world you know!!”
It is actually quite difficult not to waste food when we have such an abundance of it. Who wants to eat the slobbered on chop left over from one of your kids? There are however, a few ways we can minimise the amount of food we throw away:
- Shop every few days from a planned menu. Most people do a ‘big’ shop weekly, yet end up going back anyway for milk and bread etc. Things can change in a week …. you may get an invite somewhere, one of the kids may not come home or Hubby might be working late. I shop for 3 meals with a pantry meal for the fourth that won’t require too many fresh ingredients – just a few herbs in a pasta etc.
- Have a ‘clean out the fridge or freezer’ meal every now and then. It is not unusual for us to have a BBQ with 1 piece of steak, 3 sausages, 2 chops and a chicken breast. Use up those little pieces of meat and then cut them up so everyone gets a small portion.
- Make a soup from those veggies in the crisper. If they are a little unusual, blend it up and add a slosh of cream and plenty of garlic and herbs etc. Delicious!
- Freeze ‘almost past it’s used by date’ fruit in zip lock bags. Pop it in a blender with a cup of juice, milk or water to create sensational crushies and smoothies. Kids love them!
- Egg whites also freeze brilliantly in zip lock bags and you can defrost them by placing them in a sink of warm water. Whisk them up with a few herbs and a bit of parmesan to make a delicious omelette.
- Leftover rice and pasta make fantastic salads for yours and the kids lunch boxes. Whack in a tin of tuna, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, rocket, red onion and avocado. A squeeze of lemon, a lug of olive oil and some fresh herbs and fetta or olives will create serious lunch box envy!
- Slice up the leftover roast meat and make fritters or yummy salads. If you don’t have a dog to give the bone to, don’t waste it! Use it to make a delicious rich stock or give it to your neighbour’s dog.
- If you know of a pub or restaurant that serves gigantic meals, say something. There are charity organisations like Oz Harvest that pick up unwanted food from restaurants and give it to homeless shelters who provide meals for the homeless. Brilliant!
- Lastly, get a compost bin or a worm farm. We compost all our vegetable matter, coffee grounds and egg shells. If the fruit is just a little too old, give it back to the land. I know from experience that composted soil on your gardens will give you the best veggie garden in the street.
We really need to think about food waste as we may not always be this fortunate. We are truly blessed to get water from a tap, have land that is plentiful and not want for much of anything really. It is something that I remind myself of everyday, and definitely something we need to re-enforce to our future generations.
Cheers & Happy Cleaning Out The Fridge