Tackling Food Waste, One Meal at a Time
We've all been guilty of it at some point – that bunch of herbs wilting away in the corner of the fridge, or those leftovers that get pushed to the back, only to be rediscovered when they’re well past their prime. But in a world where resources are becoming more expensive and less readily available, it's crucial to address the issue of excess food ending up in landfills. Food waste is not only bad for the environment but also for our wallets and our health.
The good news is that we can all be part of the solution, starting right in our own kitchens. By making just a few small changes, we can help build a more sustainable and secure future, while saving money at the same time!
As the old saying goes, failing to prepare means preparing to fail. The first step towards reducing food waste at home is to embrace mindful meal planning.
Take a cue from professional chefs and plan your meals for the week ahead. This way, you can make a list of only the ingredients that you need and avoid buying any unnecessary items at the grocery store. Be sure to organize your meals so that the most perishable items are used up first. And don’t forget to take a good look to see what you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer before buying anything new.
Keep your food storage areas clean and organized so that it’s easy to see exactly what you have on hand. Try using a first-in, first-out arrangement, which prevents older items from being pushed to the back, making them easier to spot and use before newer purchases.
When grocery shopping, try to avoid impulse purchases that may look appealing at the time, but often go unused. Do your best to stick to your list, and whatever you do, don’t shop hungry!
Be sure to check the expiration dates of the products you buy and choose the ones that have a longer shelf life. Don't be fooled by the "best before" or "sell by" labels, which are not indicators of food safety, but rather of quality. Use your senses to judge if the food is still good to eat, and don't be afraid to buy ugly fruits and vegetables that are often discarded for cosmetic reasons - they are just as nutritious and delicious as their prettier counterparts!
Buy FrozenIn the ongoing battle against food waste, frozen products are your secret weapon. By buying frozen items, you eliminate the risk of them going bad before you have a chance to use them. But don’t worry, buying frozen doesn’t mean you need to compromise on quality. With many products now being flash frozen close to the source, frozen food items are often fresher than their ‘fresh’ counterparts.
Here at Sealand, we harness the power of Individually Quick Frozen (iQF) technology to lock in taste, texture and nutritional value. We source the finest quality meat and seafood from around the globe and freeze them at peak freshness before delivering them right to your door for total convenience. They can be safely stored in the freezer for up to a year without any degradation or loss of quality, allowing you to enjoy restaurant-quality meals from the comfort of your own home anytime you like.
Our extensive range of premium products are frozen in individual, right-sized portions, providing ultimate flexibility and ensuring you only use what you need for a particular meal. No more defrosting an entire package and hoping you can finish it before it loses its luster. With Sealand's iQF technology, you're in control, making meal planning a breeze and greatly reducing unnecessary waste.
Following recipes is a great way to reduce food waste, as they take the guesswork out of portion sizing and ingredient amounts. Visit our Recipes page for a mouthwatering selection of perfectly portioned dishes with step-by-step instructions and video walkthroughs.
When you're preparing meals at home, try to use every part of the food whenever possible. Vegetable peels and scraps are the ideal base for a nutritious stock, and leftover bread can easily be turned into croutons, breadcrumbs or stuffing.
Rather than relegating leftovers to the back of the refrigerator until they become unappetizing, reimagine them in creative ways. Transform yesterday's roasted vegetables into a frittata or casserole, and turn leftover meat into a sandwich or hearty pie. Professional chefs use this technique all the time so get creative with your culinary skills and breathe new life into would-be discarded ingredients.
Batch cooking is another great option for saving time and reducing food waste. Prepare larger quantities and freeze portions for later use. This not only ensures that you have convenient, ready-to-eat meals on hand but also prevents ingredients from languishing in the back of the fridge, forgotten and ultimately wasted.
Storing your food correctly can extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage. Be sure to follow the storage instructions on the package and use containers or bags that are airtight and leak-proof. When you don’t have specific instructions, use these general rules for proper food storage:
- Keep your fridge at 4°C or below and your freezer at -18°C or below
- Store fruits and vegetables separately, as some produce ethylene gas that can speed up ripening
- Keep dairy products in the coldest part of the fridge
- Store grains, nuts and seeds in airtight containers in a cool, dry place
- Keep herbs fresh by wrapping them in damp paper towels and storing them in resealable bags
Donate Unused ItemsSometimes, no matter how well you plan, you still end up with items in your fridge or pantry that you don't have a use for. Beyond your kitchen, there are countless community initiatives working tirelessly to combat food waste. Consider donating surplus ingredients to local food banks or participating in community fridges. Remember, every small contribution adds up to make a significant impact.
Compost the Rest
Even when you take all of the steps listed above, a small amount of food waste is inevitable. But don’t worry, there’s still one last step you can take to put that wastage to good use. Establish a composting system in your kitchen to give peels, shells and other scraps a second life as nutrient-rich soil. Composting not only minimizes the amount of food that ends up in landfills but also contributes to sustainable gardening practices. If you don’t have space or use for the compost, consider donating your food scraps to a local community garden or composting program.