Five simple steps to reduce your family’s food waste
Getting smart with portions and taking time to plan meals can help curb food waste
Mummy Cooks founder Siobhan Berry with her daughters Ashleigh (10) and Jessica (8). Teach the whole family the importance of reducing food waste by getting everyone involved
We’re all more environmentally aware than ever before, recycling and making sustainable choices to try to protect the planet for future generations.
I was shocked to learn that the average Irish household produces 0.99 tonnes of waste every year, of which a whopping 25-50 per cent is down to food waste. We can all play a part in reducing our food waste and grocery shopping bill by incorporating some of my family mealtime and food storage tips into your way of life.
These simple steps can drastically reduce the amount of food wasted after each meal, including your child’s lunchbox.
Our Mummy Cooks’ family portion pot set of containers will help you gauge how much to cook at each meal, thereby avoiding food waste. Each BPA-free pot is tailor-made for each family member and stage of tummy development, all the way from your weaning baby to toddler, child, teenager and adult. Any leftovers can then be frozen individually for those who like to batch cook.
Meal planning is the key to reducing your food waste and in turn your grocery bill. Try to choose recipes that share common ingredients and only buy what you need. Eating seasonal produce will also ensure that your family benefits from the most flavoursome and nutrient-rich food.
Try to introduce your family to a variety of foods to ensure they don’t get bored or refuse to eat certain ingredients. We advise parents to cook for the family and then adapt this meal for baby. By cooking in this way, you will reduce your food waste as you will no longer need to cook different meals for younger family members.
From tinfoil on sandwiches to covering leftovers with cling film, a lot of household waste comes from food packaging. By using reusable, recyclable containers to store and transport food you can avoid unnecessary waste associated with food. We love using our reusable, recyclable and most importantly durable and BPA-free portion pots to store food in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. They are great for on the go too.
We recommend recycling all food packaging when possible. Beware that you cannot recycle used, unwashed food containers as they will only contaminate the rest. Reuse empty biscuit tins and glass jars to store home-made goods, or for gifting perishable home-made treats to friends, family members or teachers.
Bulk buying and batch cooking
Since a third of the food we buy ends up in the bin, try to be more vigilant when doing your weekly shop. Try freezing your chopped raw onions, vegetables or herbs when you overbuy and before they are past their best in the fridge. Not only will this save you time on those hectic days, they will also freeze for up to three months.
Involve the family
Teach the whole family the importance of reducing food waste by getting everyone involved. Use up ingredients at their use-by date through clever soup recipes and recruit some junior chefs to help you. Along with managing food waste, always separate rubbish from recycling, and ensure to wash all recyclables to avoid contamination. Invest in a food bin for items such as potato peels, fruit cores and crusts. While taking regular trips to the local bottle bank with your kids is a fun way to teach them about recycling. By involving and instilling good environmentally sound habits from the early stages of life, you are preparing the next generation to look after the future of their planet.
RECIPE: BASIL & COURGETTE PESTO
You will be pleasantly surprised at how creamy and delicious this pesto is. Your child will never suspect it contains raw vegetables. Bursting with fresh flavours, this recipe is a delicious twist on my basil pesto with added courgettes for a creamy sauce. Swirl it into pasta for a quick and healthy meal that your children will love. Swap out the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds to make this nut-free for school lunches. Use portion pots to store this pesto and it will keep in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze this pesto too.
Makes: 4 adult portions
40g pine nuts
2 handfuls of basil
1 clove of garlic
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g Parmesan, grated
Ground black pepper
In a frying pan over a medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Roughly chop the courgette. Add the courgette, basil, garlic, pine nuts, and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until a loose paste forms.
Add in the olive oil while the blender is running and pulse until everything is combined. Add more oil if needed to get the right texture.
Stir in your grated Parmesan and black pepper to taste.
– Siobhan Berry is an author and founder of Mummy Cooks