Eat less, waste less, save money on food

food wasteThere’s me wondering what to write about today, sitting in my studio with our cats Dave, Steve and Molly by my side and Radio 4 for company. Then I hear a news item about food waste in Britain…

Apparently we waste an average of £480 worth of food per household every year. Which is obscene when so many people are broke and struggling.

And what about this? According to recent research, obesity is a bigger health problem for the human race than malnutrition these days.


Put the two stories together and it appears we’re getting fatter by the minute while throwing away vast amounts of food. How appalling is that?

Before we had fridges people would do a small shop every day for that day’s meals. I’m not saying it was a better way – supermarkets have done great things for the consumer. But maybe doing our weekly shop all at once, in one Alladin’s cave of a place, unconsciously encourages us to buy more than we need.

Relative to earnings, food is a lot cheaper than it used to be. The subtle and not-so-subtle ploys supermarkets use to persuade us to buy in excess probably doesn’t help either, nor does TV advertising. But we’re stuck with our silly economic system, going round and round on the consumer hamster wheel, completely unable to get off because if enough of us did the whole rotten superstructure would fall apart. Rant, rant…

Luckily there are some simple things we can do to turn things around. Here are some tips for cutting food waste.

5 easy tips for cutting food waste

  1. turn down the sound on the telly during the ad breaks so you’re not bombarded with ‘buy, buy, buy’ messages. To make it a bit more fun, read the small print. It’s usually at the bottom of the ad, easy to miss when you’re distracted by music and noise. You’ll be amazed how misleading ads are allowed to be as long as they bung a line or two of small print in there for a few seconds. Outrageous!
  2. shop daily instead of weekly
  3. plan the week’s menus up front for your 3 meals a day and never buy more than you need
  4. list the food you waste each week so you can actually see what your food waste habits are. Then shop accordingly

Here’s some advice about how to eat less and save money on food.

4 top tips for eating less and saving cash

  1. use smaller plates. It’s ridiculously effective, simply because it kids your brain that you’re eating the same amount as usual
  2. take a close look at your eating habits. If, like me, you sit at a computer all day, it’s unlikely you’ll need to eat anywhere near as much as, say, a builder who’s on their feet doing hard physical work. Do you really need to eat lunch, or such a big one? Cut down gradually and it’s less of a shock to the stomach
  3. Bear in mind the latest scientific research. There’s proof that it’s perfectly OK to go without meals. Fasting is cool, remarkably good for you in all sorts of ways, both mental and physical. Fast often, eat less and you’re likely to live for longer, be healthier and more energetic and have much better metal powers at your fingertips. How cool is that!
  4. Eat slowly. This is another brilliantly simple tip that really does work. When you scoff your food down in record time, your system doesn’t release its ‘I’m full’ chemical warning until it’s too late. You end up over-full every time. Eat slower and you give your body the chance to tell you when you’re full. Chew food properly instead of snarfing it in huge, unchewed lumps. And keep an eye on how much less you eat so you can pat yourself on the back