How often do you make a New Year’s resolution on New Year’s Eve, or in the days that follow only to have completely forgotten it before the end of January? You aren’t alone. Research has shown that just 8% of us manage to achieve our resolutions, and a study for Strava showed that most of us give up or fail around the 12th of January.
There are plenty of reasons why we fail, but three are very common. The first is that we make resolutions that we aren’t really that bothered about. We announce that we’re going to give up sugar. But a few weeks in we remember that actually, we really like sugar, in moderation, it’s not that bad for us, and that everyone deserves treats. The second is that we make resolutions that aren’t really worthwhile. We don’t take the time to look at the benefits, or how this resolution would affect us if we managed to stick to it. Third, we set ourselves unrealistic goals. You might announce that you are going to train for a marathon or lose a huge amount of weight. When you don’t start seeing results quickly, you lose motivation, and you give up.
Most of us also fall into the habit of making exactly the same resolution year after year, without making any changes or stopping to consider that it hasn’t ever worked before and so is unlikely to now. So, we see that for our New Year’s Resolutions to work, they must matter to us, they must be worth our efforts, and they must be achievable.
Reducing food waste could be the perfect option. In the UK, while four million children are living in poverty, struggling to get enough to eat, we waste over one-third of the food that is produced. Reducing food waste saves you money and time, it helps the environment and the economy, and it’s actually much easier to do than you might think. Here are some tips to make cutting food waste easier in 2021.
Think of the Bigger Picture
Most of the food that is wasted isn’t wasted by consumers at home, throwing away leftovers and food that is passed its best (although, this is part of the problem!). Most food is wasted before it reaches us at home. Stores throw out food that’s passed its best before date, or vegetables that aren’t aesthetically pleasing.
By only buying perfect food, you are part of this problem. Look for local stores that sell wonky veg and buy this instead of perfectly straight carrots – they taste the same – and shop in the reduced section.
Then, look online. Low Price Foods are short-dated food suppliers in the UK. They sell a wide range of foods at the cheapest online supermarket, offering significantly reduced prices because the food is about to pass, or has just passed, its best before date.
Food passed its best before date like at cheap food online is perfectly safe to eat, as the best before date is a reflection of the quality and not safety. Even if you only bought snacks and treats when doing the cheapest online food shopping, you could help to prevent perfectly good food from being thrown out, while saving yourself some money.
Make the Most of Your Freezer
Your freezer is one of the greatest tools in your fight against food waste, and there are plenty of ways to utilise it.
First, freeze your leftovers. Even if there’s not a full portion of a meal left, freeze what you’ve got and serve with some bread and butter or a baked potato for lunch. You can even freeze half loaves of bread if you find slices are going stale before you get to the bottom of the pack.
Second, buy food close to its use-by date, and freeze it as soon as you get home to make it last for longer.
Third, but frozen veg and fruit instead of fresh if you often throw fresh away because it’s gone bad before you’ve had the chance to eat it. Frozen is just as nutritious, and won’t get wasted after a week.
Be a Meal Planning Pro
One of the main reasons that we waste food is that we buy more than we need. The best way to avoid this is to make a detailed meal plan, including breakfasts, lunches, and even snacks as well as dinners. Then, make a list, checking your cupboards and freezer to see what you need, or taking a photo of your shelves (a shelfie, if you will!) to help you if you forget in the store. Then, get into the habit of sticking to your list. People often find that shopping online helps, as they are less likely to be tempted by other things.
Cutting food waste is different for all of us, and you might find that some techniques work better than others. But, the key is usually being more mindful of the problem and your habits. Don’t throw anything away before thinking, and keep asking yourself if you could be doing more.