Mrs Green’s half term challenge

Filed in Blog by on February 8, 2013 12 Comments
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food waste sandwichLittle Miss Green has just come home from school and now has a weeks holiday ahead of her.

Last month I totted up the amount I spent on food and had a bit of a shock.

ok, a BIG shock.So now I’m on project ‘Use it up!’ and what better time to do that than half term.

I’ll have a hungry tween on my hands and perhaps some school friends to feed too. So this morning, before placing an online shop (I find I spend less that way as temptations are out of sight), I did a fridge and freezer inventory.

I’ve rummaged through the fruit bowl, checked the vegetable box and am going to do some meal planning.

Regular readers of the site will know I’m not one for planning much in advance when it comes to food, but I have the next 24 hours sorted:

  • Dinner this evening will be making the most of the things in the fridge that need using up. So it’s smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, salad and wraps.
  • Lunch tomorrow is chicken soup and garlic bread.
  • Dinner tomorrow is cottage pie, carrots and broccoli.

With recent reports showing we now throw away nearly HALF of the world’s food, because of over-strict sell-by dates, supermarket offers and fussy consumers, I reckon it’s time to ‘Be the change’!

The report also claims that up to a third of vegetables in the UK do not get sold because of the way they look.

So let’s put our judgements aside, peel those brown bananas, turn the wrinkly veg into soup and use our noses to sniff out whether or not things are fresh.

Does anyone else need to do a ‘Use it up!” challenge next week?

Here’s how to take part in four no-brainer steps:

  1. Take a look through your fruit, vegetables and fresh items in the fridge to see what needs using up. Write it all down – it’s easier to keep track that way. I find a white board helps.
  2. Plan some of your favourite meals around the foods that need using up.
  3. If you need inspiration, write your food list below and ask one of our community for help or check out the recipes section on love Food Hate Waste.
  4. Enjoy some great meals, knowing you are saving money and protecting resources. In this week alone I’ve halved my food bill ๐Ÿ˜‰

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Denise says:

    Have spent January using up what we have left in the cupboards, freezer and fridge and kept an eye on how much we spent, managed to reduce our food bill for the month by about half
    Happy to join in this week too x

  2. Jennifer says:

    I swear we’re on the same wave length. I just started doing this this very week as we’re preparing for another move and the freezer has to be cleared out. Today salmon, Cous Cous, and salad for lunch, egg and cheese biscuits with sliced tomatoes for dinner. (Don’t know what you call our biscuits, we call your biscuits cookies). Tomorrow spagetti with Brussels sprouts for lunch, black bean soup and BLT’s for dinner. And then I have a pot of black eyed peas to put on, maybe with a salad…and I’m out of food except for condiments, salsa, bulgar and lentils….and flax seed. Going to use up the brown bananas for muffins. That’s half the week before I have to go to the store! Brilliant! Happy eating to you!

  3. LJayne says:

    We’ve been meal planning for a little while and it is fab, makes everything go more smoothly ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus it means others get involved in what we eat in the week as we try and make the list whilst eating one of our weekend meals together ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I hate being the person who decides every day!

  4. Heather says:

    I’ve been on a huge use up mission over the last month or so. I need to get the freezer empty so I can defrost it and I reckon I’ve got about 1 weeks worth of food left in there now. I’ve noticed my food bills coming down over the last couple of months and I am known to create a meal out of nothing. We have always been very concious of not wasting food so I still find it amazing that I’ve managed to cut down again. I make soup out of everything which helps!

  5. again, right on cue, my friends show up with synchronized patterns; inventory inspection, intent introspection and a bit of retrospection to avoid temptation.
    as i am married to a lifelong grazer, my meal planning is a hit and miss proposal; i may end up eating all the leftovers by ingrained habit.
    as i am a lifelong zero-food-waster, i may gain unwelcome padding in all the wrong places..
    so, what is left of the saving strategies is to play my economy-ecology card:
    use it up–cook it up–freeze it out.
    focus on pleasing the eye of the gourmet–eat mindfully, slowly, sensually.
    bon appetit, ns

  6. Julie Day says:

    Was surprised to read that you don’t plan your meals. My mum has done this for years. They say that is the way to do things these days, and I often hear this on TV programmes about saving money. Keep it up.

  7. Sue C says:

    The only problem with eating up the contents of your freezer is that you have to stock it again and when you need to buy everything at once that gets expensive!!!!! That said though, the meat from the butcher is so much better quality – and given what’s going on in the UK at the moment I have can have confidence that my beef is beef, and my chicken is chicken. One butcher’s shop chicken breast feeds four of us in a stir-fry or a risotto.

  8. Aly says:

    I read about your challenge on Reduce Footprints blog.As a big foodie and a keen menu planner I’ll be joining in.I have been trying out bulk cooking since the new year and I’m finding that is making menu planning and food shopping easier.

  9. Count me in! This is one of those activities which really needs to be revisited from time to time …. extra food seems to sneak right in. And, with food waste at an all time high (I’ve read that we’re now wasting 40% of purchased food), we really need to take this seriously. My strategy is to try to only cook what we’ll eat in one meal … or possibly just a little more for lunch the next day. Not only does it prevent food waste but it keeps us from eating too much! Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  10. Great challenge Mrs Green! I’ve joined in via Small Footprints’ CTWW. I’m a fan of meal planning, from week to week, as well as keeping the freezer stocked with homemade meals (to avoid the last-minute takeaway when we’re too knackered to cook!). But I tend to get a bit slack with the meal planning so this was a good way to refocus on it. Thanks!

  11. I started this a few days ago myself! My problem is working it in on a regular basis. I have been freezing leftovers that I won’t eat up,which is good. The problem is my freezer is now chock full! I forget to eat them later!!!! Just pulled out some black beans (for brownies, yum!) and homemade baked beans. I also found a lovely ham bone for pea soup….

  12. Fiona says:

    Great, and very timely, challenge – I’ve been having a meat-free month and seemed to be accumulating a lot of random veg! Here’s how I got on with the challenge this week:

    http://bikelightsinthefruitbowl.typepad.com/blog/2013/02/meat-free-2.html

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