Did you know that one third of the food produced globally gets lost or wasted EVERY year – That’s about 1.3 billion tonnes of food fit for human consumption!
Things in the UAE aren’t any better. The latest findings published by the Dubai Industrial Park and The Economist Intelligence Unit estimate UAE’s annual food waste at a whopping 197 kg per person. The study also shows that per capita food wastage in the UAE and other GCC countries is much higher compared to Europe or North America, where the figures stand at 95-115 kg.
Although, the region’s hotels are the biggest source of food waste, there’s a lot we can all do at an individual level to cut food waste, protect the environment and in turn, save our hard earned dirhams. Here’s how little lifestyle changes can help…
Make a meal plan
Every day, we spend quite a lot of time wondering what to eat for lunch and dinner. Without any set plan for our weekly meals, we tend to stock up our fridge with a lot of products that we don’t even end up using.
Making a meal plan for the week can help you use up the ingredients more efficiently and ensure that you are able to use up the leftovers judiciously. Plus, with a specific meal plan, you can prepare your grocery shopping list accordingly and ensure that you don’t buy unnecessary items at the supermarket.
Freeze, don’t throw in the bin
Most of us tend to throw veggies, fruits and other leftovers in the trash if they are not used. Next time, make it a point to store food items in the freezer, if you don’t plan on using these right away. Vegetables and fruits can stay fresh for several days if stored properly. And if you are worried that they may lose their texture, you can always freeze them in the form of a puree or stew.
Additionally, you should also try to chop up the vegetables and put them in freezer bags to make the most out of the limited space in the freezer. The veggies and fruits can come in handy in several ways. For instance, you can use them in soup, as puree, or toppings on desserts and cereal.
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Deep clean your fridge
One of the biggest reasons behind food wastage is our tendency to store and forget. Cluttering your fridge with products that stay in a corner for ages leads to wastage of space and an unhealthy fridge environment.
Make it a habit to clean your fridge once every week before you head out to buy more groceries. Also, use the “first in, first out” principle to ensure that older products are used first, while stocking up your fridge with newer ones. You can ensure this by storing products in an orderly manner, and moving older products to the front so they get consumed before they go bad.
[Related: 7 Life hacks that will save you big bucks]
Track whatever you throw away
While our goal is to minimize wastage, it is not strictly avoidable. However, you must try to keep track of every item that you throw away by maintaining a log so that you can prevent doing the same in the future.
Measure portion sizes
One of the best ways to avoid food wastage is to avoid leftovers altogether. The only way you can achieve this is by measuring while you cook so you know exactly how much vegetables and fruits you will need for a particular dish. Try this for a few days and you will never end up cooking extra food that ends up in the trash.
[Related: Six Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries]