Too much food is getting wasted each day by people simply throwing it out. This could be down to a number of reasons such as the best before date has gone or because there is food left over from dinner time. Whatever the reason, it is important that we try to recycle our food by turning it into another meal to eliminate food waste and to also save money.
Best Before and Use By Dates
Food gets wasted or thrown away everyday just because of the date on the packaging. The date on the packaging is simply a guideline informing you that the product may not taste its best if it is eaten after the date shown. Many people will throw away perfectly good and perfectly edible food because of this, however the food is usually still okay after the date on the packaging, depending on what kind of product it is. Meat and dairy products will go off around the time that it states on the packaging, however if it smells okay and hasn’t discoloured in anyway then it should okay to eat.
If you don’t believe that you will consume some of your food within the date shown on the packaging, then you can always freeze the product and get it out of the freezer and let it defrost for when you will be eating it. Freezing is a good way of preserving the food that may have reached its best before date, and making it last that bit longer rather than simply throwing it away.
Food waste is a huge concern. Recent research has shown that many British families are wasting up to six meals worth of food each week with food that doesn’t get eaten and food which has gone off. There are ways that we can recycle this food waste, by putting it into food bins, but wouldn’t it be better to not waste the food in the first place.
We are currently in a time where we do like to recycle our waste and are able to recycle food waste into green bins, but what if you didn’t have to waste any food at all. When we go out for meals at restaurants and have takeaways there will usually be someone who leaves something, whether it be a slice of pizza or half a burger. Overall we are wasting tonnes of food and millions of pounds. If we could stop food waste we could also save ourselves money by using up the food that we purchase.
Leftovers in a Restaurant
There will be many times when you go out for a meal at a restaurant and are not able to finish a meal. Usually this is because you become to full up or you are trying to save some room for a dessert. At the end of the day you are still paying the same amount for the food whether you eat all of it or just half of it, so why not take home the half that you are unable to eat to have as a meal the next day. This will not only save you money but you are also stopping so much food waste.
In America, it is normal for customers in a restaurant to ask to take any leftover or uneaten food home to then eat later on or the next day. This eliminates food waste from the restaurants and allows the customers to eat the food later on, after all they have paid for it. Restaurants are more than happy to pack the food up for the customer in a food container or box.
In the UK, asking to take food home from a restaurant isn’t so normal as it is in America. Some feel ashamed to ask and some who do want to take leftovers home, even if it is just for the pet dog, sneakily wrap it up in a napkin or pop it in a sandwich bag under the table. So why is it that people in the UK feel this way about taking leftovers home? Most people who visit restaurants and can’t seem to manage a whole meal would like to take their uneaten food home. In many cases it is purely down to the fact that many people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about asking to take food home.
To combat food waste, more restaurants in the UK should offer the service of packing up your uneaten food to take home. This will save the restaurant having to throw away the food and customers will make the most out of the money that they have spent. Most restaurants will offer this service, it’s mainly down the the customers not asking, so if restaurants were to ask before they take your plate away then maybe more customers will agree to take their food home.
Leftovers from a Takeaway
There may be many times where a group of you get together and order a large amount of takeaway. Some of the food may be to have individually and some may be to share. At the end of the night you will always find that there will be leftovers and most of the time, when cleaning up, the food gets thrown away. This need not be the case. You could ask your friends to take it home with them to eat the next day or as a family pack it into boxes and sandwich bags to eat the following day. Many types of food can be eaten the next day. For example pizza can be reheated in the microwave and for better results can be cooked again in the oven. If you have decided you won’t be eating some of the food, then as soon as it has cooled down, put it into the fridge and the food should be perfectly fine to eat the next day.
Leftovers at Home
Leftovers at home can come from large meals that you have put together for the family. You may of cooked too much just to make sure that there is enough for everyone, resulting in much of the food being left over. With the food that is left over, you can pack it into sealed boxes and when the food as cooled down, put the boxes into the fridge. If you have cooked up a pizza and get to the last couple of slices and feel as though you can’t eat them, just put them into a box or a sandwich bag and have them the next day for lunch. You can always reheat by using the microwave or the oven. Left overs can always be turned into another meal by someway or another. Cooking something that is sauce based such as Spaghetti Bolognese or Chilli Con Carne, you may have some sauce leftover after you have put your meal out. The left over sauces can be used again the next day for a meal, or to make things different can be served on a jacket potato instead of the spaghetti or the rice.
There will always be a way of recycling your food to make it into another meal and to stop so much food being wasted, so think before you throw your food into the bin.