Food waste

Food Waste

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the coop and food waste

Over the last few days the Co-op hit the headlines for its war on waste.  Its East of England stores will now be selling food that is past its ‘best before date’ for 10p

food-waste2In the run up to Christmas when we are all busy stocking up our shelves, fridges and freezer it’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that £17 billion worth of food is thrown away every year in the UK.  That’s the equivalent of £470 per Uk household

We all have a part to play in that number, for instance shops and manufacturers generate 6 million tonnes of food waste annually, restaurants generate another 3 million tonnes and 33% of the food we buy is thrown away

But at the same time 8.4 million people in the UK who are too poor to eat and 4.7 million people go a whole day without food


So what can you do to help reduce some of these statistics?

Food waste top tips

Tip #1 - understand the difference between use by, best before and sell by dates.  It could make the difference between using or throwing away food


Tip #2 – go shopping with a list. It could not only reduce your food bill by discouraging you from purchasing BOGOF and other special offers but you will only buy what you need and help reduce waste

Tip #3 – Use the freezer to correctly store leftover food.  Place leftovers in freezer bags (clearly labelled with the contents and a date)

Tip #4 – Love your leftovers; veg can be made into a winter warming and cheap soup, stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs, garlic bread or frozen for later, herbs can be added to bottled oil to create flavoured oils, potatoes can be cooked,mashed and frozen, ripe bananas can be broken into pieces and frozen ready to be added to smoothies, turned in to squishy banana bread or whizzed in a blender to make ice-cream

Tip #5 – Stalks, stems, outer leaves from veg and herbs can all be frozen ready to make homemade stock for stews, soups, risottos and sauces

Tip #6 – Ripe fruit can be cooked in a small amount of water and some cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch or two of sugar until soft and spooned over yoghurt, served with your favourite cereal or eaten with custard.  Any left over can be frozen flat in freezer bags

Tip #7 – Never go food shopping when you are hungry; it could encourage you to make impetuous buys

Tip #8 - Make your salad leaves last longer by putting them in a big bowl or tub, lay a paper towel or two over the top so moisture doesn’t settle on the leaves. Cover with a lid or some clingfilm and store at the bottom of the fridge.

Tip #9 – Practice portion control and don’t overload your plates with food.  Consider using smaller plates, bowls and glasses

Tip #10 – If you have left over food contact your nearest food bank, soup kitchen, charity or local church and let them redistribute it for you


 feed-bellies-not-binsWhat’s your best tip for avoiding food waste?

Healthy eating

Healthy eating – what do you want to know?!


NY resolutionsNew Year is usually about new resolutions, getting fitter, healthier and more focused. So I decided to ask my clients and social media followers what healthy eating questions they had for me so they could get on track and stay there.


Here’s a selection

What generally constitutes a healthy balanced diet?

I tell my clients and cookery class guests that its all about variety i.e. eating a rainbow of colour, so lots of different coloured vegetables and fruits will small amounts of wholegrain pasta, bread and rice. Moderation is also key and by that I mean portion control.

healthy eating

A good guide is to use your hand; protein should fit on the palm of your hand, potatoes (also rice, bread and pasta) should fit in to a cupped hand and veggies in both open hands. That brings me to balance; no one food should dominate your plate, meal or daily diet i.e. wheat or sugary foods/drink. We often hear about people cutting out food groups (wheat and dairy are the obvious ones) but I prefer substitution not elimination. That means having rye or oats instead of wheat and replacing cows milk and cheeses with non-dairy substitutes. And finally for a healthy diet it’s essential that you curb your caffeine, alcohol and sugar intakes.


Best vegan cookbook?

vegan cookbook


vegan cookbook2These two books come highly recommended: Eat vegan, Smith & Daughters by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse for a Spanish vibe to vegan recipes, and Super Foods Super Fast by Julie Montagu. Does what it says on the tin!


Any foods recommended that help combat dementia?

Firstly I’d start with a healthy balanced diet that’s low in sugar, salt, saturated fat and processed foods.


More specifically include vegetables (especially dark skinned versions like aubergine, courgettes, spinach, kale and peppers), berries/fruits, nuts, green tea, olive oil, fish (especially oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel) and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads. Think Mediterranean diet.


How do I ensure my vegan teenager gets enough protein?

beansNuts and seeds, tofu, tinned beans (chickpeas, borlotti, cannellini, butterbeans etc), hummus, vegan cheese/dairy, edamame beans, peas, vegan quorn are all great protein sources


How does 5:2 fasting work?

When we eat a lot of carbohydrate (like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) or foods high in sugar, it causes our blood glucose levels to rise. Our body produces the hormone insulin as a reaction to eating to keep our glucose levels stable.

Insulin also encourages fat cells to take up fatty acids and store them, the way it encourages liver cells to take up sugars and store them.

fastingStudies have shown intermittent fasting increases the effectiveness of insulin to store glucose and break down fats. This process will reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline

Another way fasting works is by reducing the amount of insulin-like growth hormone, which has been shown to reduce your risk of many age-related diseases, like cancer.  High levels of this hormone later in life appear to lead to accelerated ageing and cancer.


Is Agave a good alternative to sugar?

agaveIt has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener (90%). Fructose causes insulin resistance and significantly raises triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease). It also increases fat around the middle, which in turn puts you at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease. It also has the same calories per gram as all other sweeteners (4 calories per gram). So like all sugars use agave with caution and moderation.


Could you suggest some healthy cooking oils for a vegan diet?

It depends on how high you are getting the oil, as some degrade and de-nature which will not only alter the taste but make it harmful. For high temperature cooking i.e. stir-fries or deep-fried I’d go for rapeseed or coconut oil. Sunflower oil should not be used for high heat cooking as it breaks down and forms aldehydes and lipid peroxides, which are harmful.

For general frying both coconut and rapeseed oils are also good and you can add olive oil to the list. But again not sunflower. But be aware that all oils contain the same calories per gram i.e. 9 cals. So whichever you choose try and use as little as possible and pat the food dry after frying. Also do not re-use the oil and keep the bottles out of direct light.



Let me know if you have some burning healthy eating question that you’d like some help with. Or maybe something’s caught your eye in the paper but you’re not sure about it?