I've just recently subscribed to Women's Health magazine. I'm an avid runner (some may say a little obsessed) so I already have a keen interest in keeping healthy and trying to eat the right foods. But I also believe it’s important to eat as ethically and sustainably as you can.
I'm conscious of our impact on the environment as we go about our daily lives. You won't find me chucking gel wrappers into bushes, leaving taps on or throwing food away on a regular basis. Food waste is something that is very much a bugbear to me. I grew up in a household where there was always a lot of food and seemingly never enough time to eat it all. Meal planning didn't happen because everyone flitted and floated about through the household at different times on different schedules. Bags of sorry looking salad got chucked. Gone off yogurt binned. And half a loaf would often mold over in the corner without anyone noticing.
When I left for university and had to live on a very strict budget I became hyper aware of the cost and the nutritional value of food. What would give me a good quality meal without breaking the bank? Definitely not pre-processed junk like microwave meals or noodle pots! I very quickly in a "sink or swim" style scenario learnt how to make nutritious and simple meals, like stir-fries, chillies and good old-fashioned jacket potatoes. Binning food because I didn't get around to eating it never happened because it was the equivalent of throwing money away - money I didn't have.
Despite now earning a good wage in the Big Wide World, this mantra pervades my way of life and food waste rarely happens. When I read the article in the Women's Health magazine regarding food waste it really concerned me. A third of the food we buy in the UK ends up in the bin? That is crazy. There are so many ways we can avoid this. It just takes a little bit more thought on our side:
Planning meals: I plan my meals for the week and buy only what I need...and if I "need" chocolate then so be it!
Don’t always go for the offers: I know, sometimes buy one get one free offers seem irresistible – but will you eat all that food? If you can, then buy it and make the saving but if you’re just swayed by those colourful offer signs then have a think of whether you’ll actually make use of it all. Or if possible, freeze the surplus! It’s always good to have a freezer full of vegetables and ingredients ready to make tasty meals.
Make the most of leftovers: Use leftovers in other recipes. Vegetables and cooked meat are easily thrown into stews, salads or soups. For example, buying a whole chicken and roasting it can mean meat for the week for salads or sandwiches and the bones can be used to make bone broth or stock. It’s all good stuff!
Compost: I requested a compost waste bin from my local council so even peel and bones can be put to some use. If you have a garden then you can use that compost to liven up flowers and plants. I’m pleased that my rubbish bin only really contains plastics and other materials that can’t be recycled.
Donate: Are you going on holiday and have food that won’t be able to last until you get back? Donate it to the local food bank. Supermarkets like Tesco have a food bank, just ask inside.
It might take some time to plan meals for the week and get organised but in the end it helps to reduce waste and save money! Food is money and nutrition, don’t waste it.
Not only is Women’s Health magazine jam packed with features on health, fitness, and well-being, but also includes some great tips for general life. Why not subscribe to Women’s Health magazine via magazine.co.uk and save on the cover price today?!