Let’s talk about food waste today!
When we were children, there were certain rules regarding food. We were to start with a small portion. We were not allowed to pile food on our plates and also we could leave the table only when we would finish everything on the plate.
As a child and a growing up teenager, I would be bored and irritated by these practices.
But looking back, I now understand that my ma wanted to reduce the food waste. She would make everything precisely so that there would be less or almost no leftovers.
She taught us to eat enough food to sustain but not to waste it just because we wanted to indulge.
These habits made my brother and me appreciative and grateful for our food. It also made us conscious of food waste.
Food waste has become a serious problem in the modern world and it will not go unless it is treated on an individual basis.
Now, what is food waste and how to reduce it?
According to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food waste refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers.
Food waste happens when out of greediness, we gather more than we can consume. It not only waste our food, but takes a toll on our natural, agricultural resources, our labour and environment.
It is also one of the major causes of food crisis.
So how to reduce food waste as an individual or as a customer?
Food waste can be reduced by some simple well thought actions. These actions are easy to follow and remember.
Here are 10 actionable tips you can use and embrace to reduce our food waste
Adapt a healthy and sustainable lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle does not mean mere exercising or carb cutting. It means a sustainable lifestyle where you take conscious decisions to use natural elements.
It can be eating mindfully, switching off your gadgets when not in use, reducing plastic or giving back to the nature.
Buy only what you need
It is one of the major step to reduce any kind of waste including food. Most of a time we go on a buying spree and buy many things that we hardly eat or cook.
These unused food counts in food waste. So, to reduce it, only but the items you are sure of cooking and eating.
Also do not be a kitchen hoarder. Buying more pulses or rice at one go can also results in their degradation due to unuses.
If you follow monthly shopping rule for your pantry, make sure you store them properly so that they don’t get spoiled.
Likewise, always wash, dry and then store your vegetables to keep them fresh. There are numerous YouTube videos that teaches pantry and refrigerator management. They are full of tips in storing our food wisely.
One of the major food waste occurrences happen in weddings or while eating out. To reduce the food waste on your individual level, always take small portions first or share a large dish in restaurants.
This simple step can really help in reducing your food waste and give you the satisfaction of saving food.
Put your food waste to use
What do you do with your vegetable peels or food scraps? If you maintain a kictehn garden or a balcony garden, you can compost it to make natural fertilisers.
In my balcony, I have a pot of soil where we dump every peel we produce. It goes to our kitchen garden. Here is one of my favourite videos on food compost.
Reduce the use of plastic
Do you get your veggies or fruits from supermarkets where they are wraped in plastics?
Plastic is the bane of our environment and it also indirectly effects our food. Plastics reduce the fertility of soil and such type of soil need enhancements in form of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
So, it is essential that we reduce its use to save our environment and food resources.
If possible ask for fruits/veggies without that plastic foil. Most of the restaurants use reusable plastics for takeovers but they use the aluminum foil for many things. You can also request the removal of the aluminum from your food.
Eat local, buy local
This goes without saying. Our cuisines are developed according to our climate and Geography. So, the food we have been eating since so many years are the best food for us.
Eating local recipes that use common ingredients can also reduce food waste. When you cook exotic recipes using foreign ingredients, you do not know how to use it properly leading food wastage.
If possible buy from local vendors or farmers’ markets. In doing that you are helping them to sell faster eliminating the risk of perishing the veggies.
We all remember how many food was wasted during the first lockdown periods in 2020 when farmers were unable to sell the food items and they perished in the storage.
This says without going. When you respect food and all the hard work that goes into its growing, availability and cooking, you automatically reduce its waste.
Love thy leftovers
There are so many ways to use the leftovers! Do not waste it lying inside the fridge or just putting it into the dustbin.
Try some innovative ideas with the leftovers and make them interesting.
Eat plant based veg or non veg food
According to Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations, eating plant-based diet has health as well as environmental benefit.
Now what is plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is eating more whole plant food like whole grains, pulses, legumes, beans, fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and herbs.
The beauty of plant-based diet is that you can incorporate it into any kind of diet. You can be vegan or vegetarian/pescatarian/eggetarian or nonvegetarian and still follow a plant-based diet.
It means when you follow plant-based diet, it does not mean you have to give up your favourite chicken item or dairy. It means you take conscious choice to eat more pulses and beans and vegetables.
Why is a plant-based diet good for you?
We all know how important it is to eat our vegetables. They are good for our health, skin and overall well-being. A plant-based diet has also known to prevent cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Studies have proved that a plant-based diet can help fighting heart diseases, hypertension, high cholesterol and some forms of cancer.
It also means that you eat whole food without much wastage.
Not sure how to start a plant-based diet? I have created a guide where I talk about 10 ways to start a plant-based diet easily. You can download it for free by filling up the form below.
At the conclusion, I would like to share a small thing. We have been taught all our lives that charity begins at home. So, let’s take conscious choices and help the world get rid of food waste.
Remember, it is one step at a time! Let’s help our environment to be better.