Waste-not cooking for your family
And just like that, it is dinner time again! Having food on the table each night is often a challenge for busy parents, especially on a budget and with little time. To celebrate Zero Waste Week, we have some easy tips on cooking for your family while using up what you have in the house which saves on food waste, time, energy and pocket change! There is also the bonus of eating all together if possible.
Here are some tips for waste-not family cooking:
- Plan your meals for the week. Once a week, go through your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards to see what needs eating. Then look online for a recipe using those ingredients and pencil it in your diary or family planner along with noting any missing ingredients, with amounts, needed.
- Cook and snack seasonally. Cooking with local and seasonal vegetables reduces the energy needed to transport those ingredients. Yes, it is nice to have berries in the winter, but they will be coming from the other side of our planet – stick to citrus and dark leafy greens in the winter, and enjoy British berries, plums and beans in the summer. Not sure what is seasonal? The nicest and cheapest ingredients are usually seasonal – so it saves you money as well!
- Freeze everything before it goes off. Can’t get through a full loaf of bread? Freeze half when you open it. Fruit or veg about to go off? If it has seeds, remove them before freezing and be sure everything else is washed. It will be great for baking, sauces, smoothies, and tray bakes for well over a year after putting in the freezer! Meats should be airtight and frozen for up to 6 months before use.
- Grow your own herbs and lettuce. Herbs and lettuce come in plastic to help them last longer in the shop. But growing them takes very little space outside or in pots inside, and you can save money and plastic while having them on hand when you want them! Soft herbs (oregano, marjoram, sage, etc) won’t last outside for the winter, so in September either cut and dry them or make a blend with some garlic and olive oil and freeze in cube trays to make marinades for the winter.
- Feed your youngest the same as your family. Unless there are dietary restrictions, cooking for your baby and your family can be done at the same time, and studies show that they will transition to less processed food homecooked meals as they grow as a result (Garcia et al 2015, Harris and Coulthard 2016). When cooking for your little one, you will need to separate out their portion when you add in salt or cook the meals at the same time adding in extra veg and herbs for flavour instead of salt.
Meal planning, choosing ingredients with less or no packaging and reducing your food waste makes a big difference to your family’s carbon footprint and saves you money. If you are cooking a family meal that doesn’t suit your little one, Tom Pom Organic handmade, freshly frozen purees and meals are a great back up to keep in your freezer. The bags are BPA free and resealable, so you can wash and use them to freeze your own food afterwards! Check out www.tompomorganic.com for more tips and recipes for family waste-not cooking and join our community @tompomorganic.