Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

The end of last year has challenged me to look for tips and products that help reduce food waste because, well…

I’m guilty, I’m guilty. Weekly I’ve been throwing out way too much stuff. It usually starts with the resolution that we are going to eat more healthily. And was we do have healthy meals, I convince myself that during the day I will eat a celery stalk or a radish when hungry…but I usually don’t. I currently have a celery in the fridge whose leaves have already become soft and soggy, so I know that I will be making a soup this afternoon (instead of using it as the snack I bought it for.)

So determined to make a change I have searched the web and my favourite Facebook mommy groups and came up with these tips and products that help reduce food waste.

Freezer marker and (wasi) tape

I freeze in left-overs that are usually enough for just one. This comes in handy for when my daughter of 25 is alone at home. However I realized that I didn’t really keep track of what I was putting in the freezer and when. Nameless meals, which turned out to be something else than what I though when defrosted. Suddenly we ate sweet potato soup with the pasta instead of tomato sauce. I used to stick post-its on the pasta, but they didn’t stick in the freezer. Stickers labels are not my thing as it’s hard to get off .

We have a chalk marker for writing notes on the mirrors or to make designs on the windows, so I though there must be a washable marker to use on containers. As a matter a fact there is, I found a freezer marker on Bol.com by the make of Edding. You can buy them apparently in most craft shops and office shops( I didn’t know).

I also have loads of wasi tape and together with the marker they now make the perfect combo for labelling all kinds of stuff. Scotch tape will do the job just as well by the way, I just like pretty things 🙂 It’s very easy to remove and leaves no residue. Both are standard in our kitchen drawer and are used almost daily. Because now I also put it on jars and packs that I open and that are not empty yet. We have an opening date on everything. You can call me neurotic.

Too Good To Go app

Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

Via the app Too Good To Go (iOS/ Android) you can buy a so-called Magic Box with products that have all reached the THT day. Don’t worry, it’s still safe to eat ! In the larger cities several shops, restaurants and even hotels participate. So I think that must be very interesting to do but in our village unfortunately only one supermarket. I did the test and bought a package for 4.95 EUR. The value of the package was 23.80 EUR, so good deal. But to be honest I found that there were quite a lot of luxury products, which I normally never buy. Also quite a lot of meat, while we as a family want to cut down. The contents were also quite kcal rich, I’ll say, and I missed vegetables, so you can make a full meal out of them. I still like the initiative, but doubt if I will do it again. When you buy products like that, which you don’t normally buy, is it really waste-free? Food for thought, shall we say…

Measuring buddy=Eetmaatje

“Eetmaatje” in Dutch as the one I have was created by the nutritional centre of the Netherlands.

It’s a measuring cup for rice, pasta and couscous. The measuring buddy makes it easier to measure portions. So you never have the tendency to cook too much and waste food. It also makes it easier to eat the recommended amount per person. Good for the environment, your health and your wallet! The Dining buddy is free. You only pay the shipping costs.

Living in Belgium I got it from Eco-Logish.

Food Huggers

Products that help reduce food waste food huggers
Food huggers

I only came to hear about them last year. Apparently I’ve been lying under a rock, because I had missed it completely. In 2013, a big crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter raised almost $84,000 in no-time. Now 7 years later, Food Huggers are still being sold. Food Huggers are an environmentally friendly alternative to cling film. They will last a lifetime. Made of safe silicone and free BPA and phthalates. The Huggers can be placed in the dishwasher, freezer and microwave.

The Food Huggers can be applied directly on food, but also indirectly as a lid. There are different sizes of sets.

In Belgium the eco-bio-fair webshop Kudzu sells them. I ordered them. Curious to see if the cling film really hugs the food!

TIP: I heard the other day that Ikea also sells them. Probably of a different quality, but if you are on a budget and want to make a difference why not. I love Ikea btw…LOVE!

Oxo Greensavers

Products that help reduce food waste Greensavers
OXO Good grips Greensavers

In my hunt for Food Huggers I heard about OXO greensavers on a sustainable mothering group I’m in on Facebook. Vegetables and fruit produce ethylene. Ethylene accelerates the ripening process. The Oxo Greensavers absorb the excess ethylene produced, keep the air around the food constantly moving and control the humidity. Oxo uses a (naturally) non-toxic carbon filter of coconut shell, which absorbs the ethylene gas. The active carbon filter lasts 3 months. An adjustable date slider indicates when it is time to replace it.

There are freshener boxes for sale and a freshener for in the vegetable drawer. I chose the latter. With the help of 2 suction cups you stick it in the vegetable drawer. Oxo claims that your fruit and vegetables stay fresh so much longer and you will recoup the investment of 9,95 euro for the holder + 1 carbon filter (or 12,95 euro for 4 refill filters) in no time. I’m going to test it! I’ll let you know!

If you are keen to get your hands on one of these products, keep an eye on my blog as I will soon be organizing my first giveaway! Yay!

Now please give me more tips and products that you know of that help reduce food waste.

Life by Mim

All products in the article have been purchased by myself.


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How to pack healthy school lunch

How to pack a healthy school lunch

Packing lunchboxes are not only a time-consuming part of the morning rush, but it is also a true headache for many parents. I’m trying this year my ultimate best at makingng the best lunch possible for my little grazer. How to pack a healthy school lunch? What needs to be put in that lunchbox nowadays? What is not done?

Nutella, jam, or sprinkles have been blacklisted in many schools here in Belgium. And recently the WHO (World Health Organization) also blacklisted ham, salami, and other cold cuts. 

So much has changed over the years. I used to just slap on some salami or baloney onto my eldest children’s sandwiches. Now that the salami is also banned, we are totally lost. You can’t send your children to school every day with a slice of cheese on their sandwich? Anyway, we can, but not without loud protest from those involved. 

So I did my research. I have followed nutritionists and health conscience mom’s on Pinterest and Instagram to see what they do and advise.

START AT THE BEGIN: THE RIGHT BREAD BOX

It all starts with finding the right lunchbox. It’s better to get the non-plastic ones (better for health and the environment), and one with different compartments (Bento). I have a stainless steel one for me, but my 5 year old has a hard time opening it so in the meantime he uses the Yumbox original. It’s completely leak free and has just the right amount of compartments for my little grazer. Follow this link if you would like some tips on how to find the right lunchbox. 

THINK IN GROUPS

Just like us, children need carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats and that on a daily basis. Each one of these food groups is important for a proper development. However, especially proteins and fats are often missing in the lunch box. For the lunchbox I always recommend thinking in 4 groups.

  • Proteins, animal or vegetable: for example, a hard-boiled egg, bouncer, leftover chicken, mozzarella, feta, gouda, tuna or other canned fish, leftover meatballs, lentil salad, hummus, whole yogurt, or tofu.
  • Vegetables:raw vegetables (tomatoes on the vine, cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, celery, lettuce …), cooked beans, vegetable leftovers from the night before, or soup in a separate thermos.
  • Whole grain cereal products:whole meal bread, wholegrain rice cake, wholegrain pita or wrap, wholegrain pasta, or whole rice.
  • Healthy fats:olives, avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

Whether you effectively divide these groups into sections or throw them all into one large salad or wrap, does not matter. As long as you take something from each group, and the ingredients are unprocessed, it will be fine.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ODgDBIV4J/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

Ah! Let your child indicate how much he wants to eat. He will feel perfectly full if you fill the lunchbox with fiber-rich, protein-rich and fat-rich food. That is not the case with Nutella sandwiches. Those children seem insatiable. That is completely normal, because white bread with chocolate does not contain any fibers or nutritional values. That is why you can eat a lot of them, but you also get hungry again very quickly.

Vegan tacos that kids will love

Vegan tacos that kids will love
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Vegan tacos that kids will love

One of my son’s all-time favorite books is “Dragon’s love taco’s” and not only do dragon’s love them but so do kids! Especially my kid. And like the dragon’s in the book he likes them WITHOUT spicy salsa.

So as a homage to my son and his love for tacos I want to share with you our favorite taco recipe.

I know, I know, I can see you rolling your eyes at me. Do they need to be vegan? Well, our household has become a pescatarian. I do make chicken once a week because my eldest daughter of 25 just loves meat, even though she wished that she wouldn’t and I do cook fish once a week to, but other than that our meals are usually plant-based. We are not vegan, but I try to I try to limit the amount of dairy that we consume.

So this recipe is one I make almost monthly and both my children, young and “old” (sorry my love) love it. My daughter usually even overeats with this one.

Using the mushroom broth gives it the meaty taste that most of us like, but vegetable broth works as well.

Most people think of cilantro when they think of guacamole, but we are not lovers of this soapy tasting herb, but go ahead.

Use your favorite toppings. We used iceberg salade and cheese, replace the cheese with the vegan variety. Also tasty topped off with some jalapenos, but again, my son does not like it spicy.

Here we go! My take on vegan tacos that kids will love.

Vegan Tacos that kids will love

Cooking the lentils in mushroom broth instead of vegetable broth: it adds a special umami flavor to make the tacos extra savory!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: kids, vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive 1oil
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 3 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 packet taco seasoning most supermarkets have it in their world section
  • 1 can lentils of choice
  • 50 grams Bulgur
  • 450 ml mushroom or vegetal broth
  • 2 avocado's
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 pack taco shells
  • 1 clove garlic minced

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add half of diced red onion and sautĂ© for 5 minutes until soft. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, taco seasoning and dried lentils. SautĂ© for another 30 seconds, then pour in the mushroom or vegetable broth. Allow the mixture to come to a boil over medium heat. Boil, uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  • While the lentils are cooking, bring 200 ml of water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Add the bulgur to the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Transfer the cooked bulgur into the cooked lentil mixture; stir well to combine.
  • Scoop the avocado halves into a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the remaining cup diced red onion, the halved cherry tomatoes and lime juice. Mix well; taste, and add salt as needed.
  • Build the tacos by dividing the lentil mixture among the taco shells. Top with guacamole and serve.

I have to admit, my food picture taking needs some improvement. I’m getting there, but I needed some help and I the tips I got from reading from Jaime over at “Everyday Art” are SO helpful. Shout out to me other tips that you may have. Needing it very badly. So sorry if the pics are not that great, but the recipe IS!

So I hope that you will try out these vegan tacos that kids will love.

Blogging is a challenge I tell you.

Vegan tacos that kids will love

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Looking for a light but very tasty recipe? Then this creamy zucchini pasta with pesto and a delicious moot of salmon might be exactly what you are looking for.

I have become a serious fan of sneaking in some extra veggies after having made my STICKY GARLIC​​​ SHRIMP ON A BED OF BROCCOLI​​​ RICE recipe. So I decided to try out the courgetti. That’s zucchini cut into spaghetti-like strips. How cool is that?

Zucchini pasta or courgetti


You can now buy them ready-made at the supermarket, but you can also cut the zucchini yourself into strips with a spiral cutter or by hand. That is, of course, a bit more work. You can also use half zucchini and half pasta in the recipe if you miss the real pasta. In any case, this is a way to eat extra vegetables.

Baked salmon

How uh-mazing is a salmon filet just slightly pan-fried? Not overly baked and chewy. A gently fried salmon filet pairs so fantasticly well with the courgetti and the pesto. If you are not really a fish lover, you could also use chicken, it goes equally well, but I love my salmon.

Let’s do it!

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Low Carb
Keyword: gluten free, healthy, low carb
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 filet salmon
  • 400 gram courgetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • salt and peper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 5 radishes
  • 200 gram green salad

Instructions

  • Finely chop the garlic and slice the radishes.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the salmon in it. Start baking on one side for about 3 minutes, then turn and bake the other side for 3 minutes as well.
  • Take a large pan, heat a little oil and fry the garlic for about 1 minute. Then add the zucchini pasta and stir fry for about 2 minutes so that it does not become too soft. Season with pepper and salt after 2 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini pasta to a plate, place the salmon on top and put the sliced radishes all around. Serve with a nice green salad and olive oil.

And now, enjoy this low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon!

Low carb recipe: zucchini pasta pesto and salmon

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp on a bed of Broccoli​​​ rice

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice. Sounds appealing?

I have to be honest. The first time that I had seen “Broccoli rice” I thought, here you go again, another fad that will pass us by just as Kale has. Ok, many people still eat Kale (I even do), but you do hear less about it, right? So, I did not give it much thought. I mean, I love whole grain rice, especially with a side of Nigerian pepper sauce that my friend occasionally makes for me. So why Broccoli rice? Well, after having passed it by weekly for about year now, I gave in. Mainly because I want to up my veggie intake and also because I was curious after seeing a friend of mine who posted a picture of her meal composed of stuffed peppers and broccoli pesto rice. I yet have to try that. Maybe with some salmon instead of a stuffed pepper.

So I bought the stuff, but what now? What would I normally eat with rice? I don’t really eat meat, except for some chicken occasionally. I love tofu but had none in the fridge and then I remembered the shrimp that I always have in the freezer for moments like these and my mouth already began to water.

I love shrimp! I love how they make it here in Belgium, “Scampi Diabolique”, nice and spicy in a tomato sauce. I love them in a good curry or just nice and simple in some good butter/olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. You need a good fresh bread so you can dip into the glorious garlicky, buttery sauce.

But I was in a salty and sweet mood and this is so quick, I could get to eat it faster! I’m not such a glutton usually, but I had been starved! I had been sick at home with Tonsilitis, and the only thing I could eat for 4 days was actually drinking, some lukewarm soup. And that still felt like I was swallowing a warm beverage with glass shards in it. H-o-r-r-i-b-l-e!

Enough babbling! To the recipe!

Sticky garlic shrimp on a bed of broccoli rice

When I am craving something sweet and salty and I need it quick, this is the recipe I usually go to. Because I like thining out of the box I though that this would pair well with some broccoli rice, and it did. Ready is 20 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: broccoli rice, gluten free, shrimp
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 12€

Ingredients

  • 400 grams frozen shrimp you can choose your favorite kind, with or without tail
  • 2 tbsp clear honey organic
  • 2 tbsp tamari sauce I'm avoiding glutens as part of elimination diet but if you don't mind you can just use soy sauce.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (optional)
  • 400 gram Broccoli rice Nowadays you can buy it premade in stores, but it is easy to make yourself.
  • 1 zucchini
  • 100 grams edename
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • Whisk the honey, tamari sauce, garlic, and ginger (if using) together in a medium bowl.
  • Add shrimp to the marinade and put away in fridge. I don't have to remind you that if you let it sit overnight it will taste even better. So make it the day before if you can. Only takes a few minutes.
  • Chop the zucchini finely into litte squares.
  • Add the shrimp into a hot wok with coconut oil and cook each side for about 45 seconds, or until pink. You dont want them to be chewy like rubber, but you dont want to catch salmonella either. Am I right?
  • Once the shrimp are done, put to the side. You can either pour out the marinade into the bowl with shrimp or leave some in the wok.
  • Add chopped zucchini to the wok, cook 2 minutes, then add in the broccoli rice for a other 2 minutes. You can add a drizzel of tamari if you would like.
  • Prep your edamame. I also have a bag of frozen edaname in the freezer for snacking on or for in my son's lunchbox. We love it.
  • Once it is all ready, scoop some rice zucchini onto a plate, place the shrimps on top and finish it off with the edaname.
  • If you like it spicy like me, I pour some Sriracha sauce over it.

And voila! Done! Now go on, go and make it and tell me what you think.

And looking for something the kids will love, well try out my delicious taco recipe!

Sticky Garlic​​​ Shrimp sitting on Broccoli​​​ rice