Learning to love leftovers

We waste a staggering amount of food in the UK – around 15 million tonnes per year according to the latest statistics – and I’m as guilty as the next person. Brown bananas in the fruit bowl, soggy lettuce at the back of the fridge.

Domestic waste is estimated at around seven million tonnes and costs the average household with children around £700 per year. There’s an environmental impact too from the production, transportation and storage of food.

The good news is that around half of the food we waste could be eaten, saving money but also helping us to improve our nutrition.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 is to waste less food. Obviously one of the best ways to do this is to plan ahead and only buy what you need. If you’re trying to eat healthily you’re probably doing this already but, inevitably, there are going to be leftovers.

The fruit and veg I haven’t used in recipes tend to hang around until they’re inedible and I’m forced to throw them out. I do add them to the compost heap but, with a little forethought, I could be turning them into something nutritious.

Both fruit and veg work well in smoothies; stick them in the blender with the rest of your ingredients for an added nutrient boost. Vegetables are also brilliant in soups. Here’s a quick and easy concoction I made for lunch after a quick rummage around the fridge.

Soften some garlic, onion and celery in a pan with oil then add a tin each of drained cannellini beans and chopped tomatoes and a few of your fave herbs. I used dried chilli, fennel seeds, basil and oregano.

Pour in enough vegetable or chicken stock to cover then add your leftover veg and simmer until tender. I had carrots and green beans, which I cooked for about 10 minutes and then added a handful of kale and cooked for another five minutes.

What could be simpler than that?

If you’d like to find out more about food waste and how you can reduce it have a look at this website. The are lots of handy tips about meal planning and the best way to store your food.

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