Reducing food waste

People are more conscious than ever about food waste. It’s a waste of money in a time when a lot of us and worse off than we used to be and it’s bad for the environment.

Food sharing apps like Olio and Fareshare and local social media groups are a good way of donating fresh produce that you won’t be able to use before it goes off. Currently it’s not possible to donate fresh produce to foodbanks, but you can donate tinned and packet foods directly to foodbanks and foodbank collections in supermarkets. The Trussell Trust has a directory of local foodbanks here.

Saving leftovers to use the next day will save you the effort and expense of cooking another meal, and I find curries and chillis often taste even better after being in the fridge overnight and reheated. Most meals can be safely kept in the fridge for four days and then reheated. The exception is cooked rice, which should never be reheated as it can make you very ill. There are resources dedicated to cooking with leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste has lots of recipes and you can search by the type of food you need to use up, and filter by dietary requirements, difficulty level and cooking time.

If you have enough space you can cook large batches of food and then freeze individual portions to use later. They can be safely kept frozen for three months if they are thoroughly reheated. It’s a good idea to label your frozen portions so you know how long they’ve been frozen for and in case you forget what they are, unless you want a surprise!

Ideally you only want to buy the amount of fresh ingredients that you need for the number of portions you’re planning to cook. How big should a portion be? The British Diatetic Association has a useful portion size fact sheet available here. Here are some examples;


Portion size


2 to 3 tablespoons / 150g cooked weight


2 to 3 tablespoons / 150g cooked weight


3 tablespoons / 30g

Porridge oats

3 tablespoons / 40g


1 glass / 200ml


3 tablespoons / 1 pot / 150g


30g / matchbox sized


90g / deck of cards


140g / palm of your hand


2 eggs




5ml / 1 teaspoon


See my post about getting your 5 a day for the portion sizes for fruits, vegetables, beans and pulses.



Dr Susi Jennings - Senior Lecturer and Unit Leader- BSC (Hons.) Nutrition with Professional Practice.





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