As we reach the end of this year’s Food Waste Action Week I thought I would add my two pence on the importance of reducing our food waste. Even the basic statistics sound pretty shocking and it can be difficult to get your head around the scale of the problem. According to the sustainability charity WRAP, around one third of food produced worldwide is unnecessarily wasted when it is unsold, unused or thrown out by supermarkets, restaurants and the public. That is simply mind blowing, but it gets worse. The natural resources that go into growing the food together with the production and transportation of it for sale are also contributing to climate change. Food production is now responsible for close to 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, globally.
But as someone who cares about the planet and loves to cook I didn’t think I had a problem with food waste in my own home. After all, my family happily hoovered up any leftovers they could get their hands on. However, I also knew that I was far from perfect even if food waste was a particular bugbear of mine. Which is why in trying to cut down further on my own food waste I wanted to help others avoid it in Spoiler alert and shared some more tips for using up neglected and forgotten foods in Waste not, want more. Although I have to come clean…I made a glaring oversight when it came to reducing my food waste which I only discovered once all of my children had left home for university.
I was reminded the other day of a time when I was 12, when a good friend said something to me that has since stuck in my head. She said that if she ever picked at her food at the dinner table because she didn’t have much of an appetite, then her mother always told her that she ‘ate like a bird’. For some reason I couldn’t get my head around what it had to do with birds because my friend didn’t look the least bit avian. In fact, I knew all too well that she had become a frequent visitor to a new takeaway that she passed daily on her way home from school. Her weakness was their specialty of deep fried sweet and sour pork which came swimming in a sticky sauce. She told me conspiringly that she was never hungry for dinner if she stopped for an afterschool snack but what her mother didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. But as I was reminiscing past times while looking out the window at the birds feeding in our garden, I also thought that maybe her mother wasn’t too far off the mark.
There has been a lot in the news lately about the government’s new drive to address the growing number of overweight and obese adults and children. Alongside a new and improved obesity strategy, they have launched a pilot Fix your bike voucher scheme to help the public get on their bikes while GPs have been encouraged to prescribe cycling as a way to help their patients lose weight. At the same time, we are being urged to Eat out to help out by another government scheme that wants us to support our local restaurants and cafes. Presumably, the only way to do both is to cycle to our dining destination. But is that really going to help us lose weight?
It seems to have come around quickly but as soon as the cold breeze hit me, I knew it was true. Summer has ended. But with a final panicked shopping trip to buy the last pieces of missing school kit, we were ready for the new term. That is, at least, in theory. Because it is not easy adjusting to the long-forgotten routine of simply trying to get your child to school in the morning. Especially after enjoying a summer of being able to do several hours of work first thing in the morning without interruption. During the sunny mornings, I could get through mountains of work in utter silence, bar the load purrs of an attention-seeking cat. My noisy teenage children used to only emerge from their lairs when hunger finally forced them out of bed. But now with the clattering of dishes and blast of BBC Breakfast everybody is up early and our kitchen has become a feeding hub of activity in the early hours. And where I once prepared the coffee peacefully and slowly started the day, the daily breakfast battles for space are in full swing.
Of course, the return to school also means a return to school lunches and the controversial topic of whether your child packs a sarnie or buys their lunch from their school canteen. Many families have strong views on whichever option is better for their children and cost can also play a factor. Others may not have a choice as their child’s school provides meals and does not allow packed lunches. But no matter how your child is catered for at lunchtime there is one thing that all families have in common. Everything changes when your child enters the beginning of the last two years of secondary school, aka Sixth Form in the UK. Once your child hits Sixth Form, parents will have to contend with a much bigger problem: the temptation of the lunchtime takeaway.
You couldn’t help but notice the tabloid headlines last
week featuring the juicy news. No, it wasn’t a press release announcing the launch
of a new Tory edition of the Deal or No Deal boardgame to the public. Nor
was it the news that Labour had solved their conundrum of how to climb down two
sides of the Brexit fence simultaneously without doing themselves an injury. It
wasn’t even speculation about whether Love Island couple Maura and Curtis would
really last on the outside. All the same, the juicy feature spread
across the newsstands involved an unhealthier re-coupling of sorts. The story
broke with the newsflash that fruit juice has fallen from its healthy pedestal
and joined the ranks of fizzy sweetened drinks. 100% fruit juice has been
exposed as not being the health elixir it once was. New evidence has shown that
the consumption of 100% fruit juices is associated with a higher risk of developing