5 top tips to make your lunchbox more eco-friendly
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It’s not always at the forefront of our minds when we’re quickly wrapping a sandwich for lunch – but reducing our food waste could help save the planet (and our bank balance). Here’s how.
Following the launch of the #FoodSavvy Lunch Club campaign, run by Suffolk and Norfolk councils and environmental charity Hubbub, we've been investigating some easy ways to cut back on your food and packaging waste, while still being kind to your wallet.
According to the campaign, the average East Anglian worker spends £388 eating 'lunch on-the-go' and uses 276 items of lunch packaging annually.
Here's what they recommend to keep your waste to a minimum, all while piling on the pounds (sterling, that is).
1. Plan, plan, plan
It's very tempting just to grab a bite to eat while you're out and about, but planning a few days at a time can really help avoid those nasty single-use plastics that often go hand-in-hand with meal deals. Take a moment to think about the week ahead and when you'll be eating at home. Choose dishes that have common ingredients and try to eat seasonally. The people at #FoodSavvy also recommend you take a "shelfie" before you head out so you know what to buy.
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2. Store your food smartly
Storing food properly can help it last longer and taste better. Did you know bananas should generally keep their distance from other fruit and veg? Take a look at the #FoodSavvy guide to make the most of your cupboards, fridge and freezer.
3. Get your portions right
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We all know portion control is good for our waistlines, but it can also help keep food and packaging waste at bay. It's best to buy only what you need each week, and divide meals into easily freezable portions if you make a big batch. The campaign recommends "making double and freezing half" if possible.
4. Know your labels
It's really important to understand the difference between date labels on your food. 'Best before' is only a guide - and food that's past this date will usually be perfectly safe to eat for a while. If it's past its 'use by' date, however, it's generally one for the bin.
5. Use leftovers
The people at #FoodSavvy say leftovers can "always find a happy home in another dish". This is true, so long as they are stored properly between meals. It might help to have a list of go-to recipes that work for your leftovers - the campaign has a handy guide here.