Simple solutions to reducing food waste
It's so hard being a grown up. You're expected to be responsible and to act sensibly ALL THE TIME! And if you have kids, it hits you even harder as you have these little beings who depend on you.... and watch your every move. It's one thing to mess up your life but you can't mess theirs up, can you?
My husband and I try really hard to be good ('ish) role models to our kids. We don't swear (in front of them anyway). We do things together as a family. We talk to them about everything from where babies come from ("The stork brought you to me".... I wish. They do know the truth of where babies come from. Am dreading the day when they ask about the detailed process) to why we don't want to smell their feet ("I love you so much, but I don't want to smell your feet because that's a bit gross"), and about doing our bit to look after our planet ("cuz we only got one Earth"). Single-use plastic is a talked about a lot, as well as reducing food waste (do any of you have a fussy eater by any chance?!)
I feel like part of being a good role model is introducing my kids to good, healthy food. Pre-kids I used to be really bad at cooking and my husband, who used to work in the kitchen of a restaurant, would have to save my meals from being left uneaten. I made it my mission to be better at it and 10 years on, I now cook most meals from scratch, and the family tends to be happy with what I serve (we do still have the odd take-away - when it's obviously the husband's turn to cook). Over the years, we've also learnt to use up as much ingredients and supplies so that we don't end up throwing a lot of food away.
We found that a big problem we had was that one of us would put some left over food in the fridge (normally something from a tinned can like baked beans, corn, tuna or chickpeas), then the other would look in the fridge a few days later to get something but neither of us would be able to remember when we put the leftover there. Even with the best intentions of reducing food waste, we'd end up having to throw it away ('cuz we're responsible adults now, right? Well, that or the fear of giving our kids food poisoning).
After countless conversations about what a waste this was, my husband, who is the ultimate 'do-er' of a person, and a bright cookie, came up with a handy little food storage container to solve our problem. May we please introduce to you (drum roll please)..... the Shake n' Store.
This beaut of a container fixes 2 problems;
Firstly, when you use a tin can and have leftovers, you won't need to look for a spoon/knife/fork/whatever to help you scrape it all out in to a bowl. You just put the tin can over the Shake n' Store, turn it around and give it a good shake (think bartender with a cocktail shaker)
Secondly (and my personal favourite bit!), the lid has the days of the week on it, and the container has a little ridge so if you're going to put leftover beans in the fridge on a Monday, you can mark it by putting the lid on with the 'M' on the ridge. The next time you're looking to make a baked bean toastie and reach for the beans, you'll know that those bad boys were put in the fridge on that day. Such a simple solution, right?!
The Shake n' Store is now available on Amazon (and watch this space... I'm trying to get in on the action and hope to stock some on Desa very soon)
It doesn't stop there though. A few things that we always try to do are;
1. Freeze food that's just been cooked (and cooled), or that's about to turn. If you realise as you're cooking that you've made too much, as soon as it's ready, freeze it to use for another meal. Another example is when you find the bananas starting to go brown, throw away the peel and freeze the bananas, to use in a smoothie or bake with on a later day.
2. Have some go-to recipes that uses up random, leftover veggies. I've mentioned previously that Minestrone is always a winner with my kids (here's a link to my blog post on how to cook Minestrone), and it's such a good recipe because I chuck anything that's in the fridge and let it simmer.
3. If you plan your meals and write a shopping list, you can aim to only buy the things you'll use for the week (good luck walking past the chocolate and ice cream aisle).
4. Try and sort out your fridge so that the things you need to use up (yoghurt, half used jars of stuff and vegetables) are visible in the front.
5. I know this sounds really obvious but actually eat the food that you bought. If you know that something will go off in a few days, use it up.
** Is this a sponsored post? No, but I should totally be given some free Shake n' Stores for this, right? Also, hey family, you all know what we'll be getting you for Christmas ;-)