22 Easy Tips for Achieving your Sustainability Goals, with Food!

It’s around the time that our resolutions start to drop off, so Tom ‘Tiramisu’ is here to help you roar into the New Year with 22 food sustainability tips!

Food Sustainability
Food Sustainability

What is Food Sustainability? 🤷‍♀️

We are all wanting to be more sustainable and heading into 2022 it’s on a lot of our resolution lists. Well, did you know that one of the easiest ways to have a HUGE impact on your environmental footprint, is through your food?

Food sustainability is a broad category of ways you can be more sustainable by making simple changes with the way you interact with food. It’s all about the way you buy, cook and eat and covers topics from food waste through to supporting local. Don’t worry though, we know 21 tips is a lot, so we have slotted them into four handy sections. Let’s dive on in and explore easy ways you can make a big impact by thinking more about: Kitchen Hacks, Cooking Creatively, Shopping Smarter and Food Waste.

Kitchen Hacks 🍳🕵️‍♂️

A fridge with an empty shelf.
A fridge with an empty shelf

1) Don’t Let Those Peelings Get to You – Peel no more! It’s super simple and has a huge impact on reducing your food waste. Put down the peeler and give your carrots or potatoes a good wash instead.

2) Don’t Fear the Empty – Turns out we’re all conditioned to want a full fridge. This leads to subconscious stacking of our shopping baskets or trolleys. An important step towards reducing your food waste is ensuring you’re not buying food to fill an empty shelf. Embrace the empty, if it’s not needed, don’t fill it.

3) You Spin Your Food Right Round – Along with stacking our fridges full, we’ve all been guilty of putting fresh food at the front. Whenever you get some fresh food, make sure you’re putting it behind the perishables you already have in your fridge. We tend to consume front to back and moving your older food forward can have a huge impact.

4) Stick it to Me – It’s super common to mistakenly associate ‘Long Shelf Life’ with ‘Never Goes Off’. Of course almost anything we consume has an end-point to its life, even the things we put in our pantry. If you’re big on jarring up your dried goods or stacking your cans then take note. Grab a felt pen or some stickers and note down in bold when the food is set to expire. This allows you to visually prioritise what to eat without having to read the fine print.

5) Learn the Art of Pickling & Preserving – These traditional ways of keeping food are making a (welcome) comeback! Preserving is a great way to enhance flavour so you can enjoy the produce all year round. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be used for longer by following a simple preserving process without sacrificing flavour, nutritional value and taste. Not only does it help to reduce energy consumption and food waste, they make tasty gifts for friends and family, too!

Cooking Creatively 👩‍🍳💭

Leftover fritata served up on a plate with a chutney.
Leftover frittata served up on a plate with a chutney

6) Frittatas Baby – We LOVE a frittata. Turns out they’re also fantastic at using up leftovers which are approaching end of life. You can throw almost anything in there and have it come out delicious!

7) Stir-fry it Up – Stir-fry is the most classic way to use up leftovers or end of life food and there’s a good reason why. They’re so good! We have some amazing recipes to help you add some pizzaz to your leftover stir-frys.

8) Re-use Your Scraps – If you just can’t help but peel those potatoes, don’t fret. You can get creative and cook them up into some delicious snacks.

9) Tray Bake-em – Much like a stir-fry a tray bake is a classic way to save some food. The best part though? They 👏 are 👏 so 👏 easy 👏! Check out these delicious recipes for spicing up your tray bake in the easiest ways.

10) Pies & Tarts, Simple Arts – Who doesn’t love a pie? You can never go wrong with pastry. Next time you’re at the supermarket, drop some pastry into that cart. Keep it in your freezer so that an emergency pie or tart is never out of reach. Want a healthier option? Mash up and freeze some potato so that a baked potato top pie is never far either.

11) You’re Such a Muffin – A moist savoury muffin never fails to leave the house smelling delicious and mouths watering. They’re also great for freezing and using at a later date. A win, win, win for sure.

12) Revive That Stale Bread – Bread is one of the most thrown away food items of all. So saving it can have a huge impact on increasing your food sustainability. A lot of the time all it takes is putting the bread in the oven with a little bit of water over top. Bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for 5–8 minutes. Then watch as your bread comes out moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Shopping Smarter 🛒🤔

Paper and pencil surrounded by food, ready for meal planning.
Paper and pencil surrounded by food, ready for meal planning

13) Plan Your Meals – This can often seem daunting but we’ve got plenty of tips and resources to help you. The biggest thing to remember when planning your meals is that you know you best. If you’re not the super organised type, it’s totally fine to be vague in your planning. Having direction is what helps you grab less of what you don’t need and can set you on the right path. Need a hand? Why not let us plan some of your meals for you!

14) Write a List – Another super simple one, but this has some of the biggest impact. Most of us got into the habit of writing lists during lockdown. If you’ve fallen off that wagon try writing a small one for your next visit. It will make a HUGE difference in reducing your food waste. Use your pantry staples list as a way to get started.

15) ‘Tis the Season – Learning your seasons is a super simple food sustainability tool. Knowing what grows in summer, winter or spring helps you visually determine what food has likely been imported. Buying what is in season significantly reduces your food’s footprint.

16) Buy Local – Off the same line of thinking, buying local helps reduce your food miles significantly while also helping support small businesses. Did you know My Food Bag sources from over 200 local suppliers with 98% of our produce being sourced locally?

17) Order A Veggie or Plant-Based Bag – Combine all of the above notes by ordering a My Veggie Bag or My Plant-Based Bag. We plan your meals to the seasons, provide you with a shopping list for staples and source locally. Not to mention, the meals are delicious.

Food Waste 🍎🗑

Piles of food offcuts.
Piles of food offcuts

18) Store Food Smarter – A lot of us are used to simply throwing our food into the fridge without thinking about how the food should be properly stored. We have some tips to help out with ensuring you’re storing your food right.

19) Note Down Your Waste – This one can seem a bit surprising but it helps so much! Whenever you find yourself throwing away food make a note of it on a notepad. Eventually you will gain a perspective on how much you’re throwing away. This helps frame how much of an impact you’re having and can motivate you to try something new.

20) Bring Your Veggies Back from the Dead – Sometimes your veggies can look a bit sad and at the end of their life, however, a lot of them can be saved. Often it just takes some water!

21) Donate To Charities – Food sustainability extends to supporting others. Far too many people let their long life goods go off. If you start with Tip #4 then you can identify food which is getting closer to expiring. If you don’t think you will be able to use it, take it to a donation point.

22) Don’t Guilt Trip Yourself – The journey to being better at your food sustainability is a long one and it takes a lot of effort. You’ll throw more food away, don’t let it get to you when you do. Take note and think about how you’ll be able to avoid it in the future. The awesome part is that you’re trying, and every little bit helps build to a huge impact! Keep it up!

Meet the Expert

Tom ‘Tiramisu’

Coming from the sunny Tasman Region at the top of the South Island, Tom has always been surrounded by farms, rivers, oceans and all the fresh and delicious food they produce. Now as Innovation Assistant at My Food Bag he’s bringing his passion for everything food, for trying something new and for sustainability to the table. A massive foodie (who enjoys eating Tiramisu as much as having it as his foodie name) with a master’s degree in ethical and sustainable supply chain transparency.

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