Leftovers – Save ££’s and lbs
Rachael Anne Hill R.P.H.Nutr
As another busy week draws to a close and you find yourself (yet again) emptying your fridge of soggy salads and relieving your vegetable rack of rotten veggies –what’s worse? The thought of all the ‘pounds’ you’ve wasted buying them or the dread of the ones you know you’ve gained by not eating them?
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. According to a recent study, British households needlessly throw away over 10 billion pounds worth of food every year - that’s equivalent to every home in the land making an average, annual cash donation of over £500 to their dustbin - and with an 11% increase in food prices this year alone it’s a figure that looks set to increase.
The study conducted by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) analysed the rubbish disposed of by over 2,000 households and found that we routinely waste up to 27% of the food we buy throwing away 4.4 million apples, 1.6 million bananas, 1.3 million yogurts, 660,000 eggs, 5,500 whole (often still wrapped) chickens, 1.2 million sausages, 260,000 packs of cheese and 440,000 ready meals each year - 60% of which are totally untouched, still packaged products that we have bought and simply never got round to eating due to poor planning and shopping habits.
“Fail to plan and you’ll plan to fail. A saying that applies equally to controlling your weight and your waste”” says dietitian, Judith Wills author of the ‘The Diet Bible’ published by Quadrille priced £12.99. “Planning your meals and snacks in advance can not only save you time and money as you can then shop for what you actually need rather than what you happen to see, but in a world where the opportunity to eat is all around –chocolate at the checkout, cakes on the coffee counter, sandwiches at the petrol station and ‘takeouts’ on every corner it can save you a whole load of calories too!
Nigel Denby, from www.grub4life.org.uk and author of The GL Diet published by Harper Collins £6.99 agrees. “Trying to stick to a healthy, calorie controlled diet without having a pre-thought out plan is like trying to cycle from A to B without having a bike. Taking just a few minutes out to think about your meals in advance gives you the vehicle you need to sail through even the busiest of weeks without falling prey to grabbing whatever foods happen to be nearest when hunger strikes. – and let’s face it, it’s these moments of weakness when the calories really creep up”.
The good news is, in addition to planning meals and snacks in advance, researchers at WRAP estimate simple changes to your shopping, storing and cooking habits such as making a list before visiting the supermarket (and sticking to it), knowing the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates (‘Use by’ dates have implications for health and must be adhered to where as ‘best before dates’ simply suggest the time frame within which a food will be at it’s best), serving up smaller portions and re-using left over food to make new meals can cut food wastage by up to 90%. So, to get you started, why not sign up and check out the recipes.
Start cooking yourself thin today! Join from as little as £7.95 a month