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AVOIDING FOOD WASTE
How to boost your nutrition intake while making the most of our resources
Hello there, I’m Chantal Tomlinson. I’m a Registered Dietitian and have recently joined The Vegan Society Nutrition Team! My passion has always been to help people make healthier eating choices. I love cooking, and I hope you enjoy the recipes that I will be sharing alongside these articles.
About food waste
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimate that one third of all the food produced globally is either lost or goes to waste. Clearly, this is not the best use of our resources. In making the most of the food we have, and buying only what we need, we can all play a part in making a collective difference.
How does wasting food affect my nutrition?
When we waste food, this can have an impact on our nutrition more than we may realise. Here is some food for thought:
When we peel fruit and veg like potatoes, carrots, and apples, we lose the
that is found just underneath the skin. Vitamin C is important for the immune system, protects our cells from damage and keeps our skin, cartilage and bones healthy.
When you use the whole food, for example the broccoli florets as well as the leaves and the stalk, you include more
in your diet. Fibre is essential for keeping your gut healthy and it keeps you fuller for longer. It also has a role in lowering the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and heart disease.
Eating nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables before they go bad means that instead of throwing food away, you could be getting the wide-ranging health benefits of hitting your 5-a-day – a win-win for your health and the environment.
Plan meals in advance.
This can help you to buy exactly what you need which reduces the chance of wasting food.
Studies show that meal planning may lead to increased diet quality and a lower chance of living with obesity.
Store your fruit and veg in the right way.
Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme shows that food lasts longer in a fridge set between 0°C and 5°C. Did you know that fruit lasts up to two weeks longer in the fridge (in its packaging) than in the fruit bowl?
Go for frozen fruit and veg.
They last so much longer than fresh and can be used conveniently at any time. They can be even more nutritious, as often they are frozen very soon after harvesting, reducing the opportunity for vitamins to be lost.
Chop up and freeze extra fruit/veg before they go bad.
For example, freeze extra cabbage which can be thawed later and steamed. Frozen sliced broccoli and carrots can be used in a lentil shepherd-less pie.
Use the whole fruit/vegetable.
Instead of throwing away the stalks of the broccoli, why not toss them into a pesto or add them to a stir fry? Potatoes can be boiled and mashed with their skin or made into homemade wedges or a jacket potato – just ensure you wash the skins well before use.
Store leftover food in the freezer.
Instead of throwing out the food you don’t eat, freeze the rest for a convenient meal another day.
Get creative in the kitchen.
Have a look at the next page for a healthy pancake recipe that makes use of very ripe bananas and includes ingredients you might have in your cupboard and freezer. Packed with fibre, omega 3-fat, a portion of fruit, protein, vitamins and minerals, they’re so delicious that you won’t want to waste any of these!
BANANA OAT PANCAKES
This easy recipe is a great way to use up overly ripe bananas
For the pancake
2 ripe bananas (approx 100 g each)
1 cup (250 g) unsweetened fortified soya milk
½ cup (62 g) self-raising flour
½ cup (45 g) porridge oats
½ tsp (2 g) baking powder
1 tbsp (10 g) chia seeds
1 heaped tbsp (18 g) smooth peanut butter 1 cup frozen (155 g) blueberries 1 tbsp (15 g) maple syrup ( or other syrup such as agave)
Blend 1 banana, flour, oats, and milk together. If you don’t have a blender, you could mash the banana well and mix everything together thoroughly.
Mix in the baking powder and chia seeds and leave it to sit for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the frying pan on a high heat
and once hot, turn down to a medium heat.
Use a ladle to pour the mixture to create your desired size of pancakes.
Once you see bubbles forming in the batter, you can use a spatula to look underneath to see if the pancake is turning golden brown.
Once golden brown, flip the pancake to the other side and cook for approximately one minute before removing it from the pan.
Continue this process until all the mixture has been used. While your pancakes are cooking, you can keep the finished ones warm on a baking tray in a low oven.
To prepare the blueberries, heat them in a pan with 2 tbsp water and heat until they are soft.
Stack your pancakes and layer with a drizzle of peanut butter, and top with your blueberries, maple syrup and banana. Feel free to top with other available fruits and enjoy!
Nutritional information per portion
By Chantal Tomlinson, Dietitian
30 | The Vegan Issue 2 2022 Photography by Hannah Hossack-Lodge