Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!

Food Waste, Guilt and Mental Health

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Hi guys, it’s our final day of healthy eating week and today we are going to take a look at food waste. We are now realising that in a lot of areas we need to start to reduce our waste and food is no exception. So as I have done all this week I will give a few suggestions to how we can reduce food waste and then I will go on to how food waste affects our mental health. I must admit I found researching this the most interesting.

I am a huge fan of reducing food waste, I waste very little but we are all different and what is most important is that everyone takes a look at what they can do individually to suit their own lifestyle and circumstances. So as I’ve done before I’m just going to write a little bullet point list with some ideas for you to try or not to try – its up to you.

● Avoid bulk buying
● Store food properly
● Use leftovers
● Create a meal schedule
● Preserve your food
● Buy the ugly fruit and veg
● Understand food labelling
● Make sure fridge is the right temperature
● Make shopping lists
● Freeze leftovers
● Measure your portions
● Freeze acceptable dairy products
● Freeze acceptable fruit and veg
● Use stale bread as breadcrumbs
● Make stock or broth out of older veg, this can be frozen
● Pack a lunch, it could be last night’s leftovers
● Log your food waste to see where changes need to be made

I’m sure there are more ways that you can reduce food waste but this was just a basic list I compiled to give you some ideas. Now, my favourite part, how does this affect our mental health?

I found this part of my research interesting because a lot of the psychology around food waste is related to guilt. Guilt leads to shame and neither are good for our mental health. A lot of people worry that if they were to waste too much food they would be characterised as lazy, excessive or greedy and careless. There is also guilt that if we do not always have access to food for our family or loved ones that we may seem like we do not care about them enough, so we buy more than we need, but then have to waste it. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve heard someone
say it’s better to have too much than too little.

Financial worries also come into play. Especially in today’s climate. Fuel prices are so high and everything else is going up in price so we feel a need to bulk buy and make the trip worth it so to write a list of what we need for the week or month makes money sense. Also keep a list of the
things that you regularly throw away and make a note to buy less to waste life. In a world that feels like it’s out of control, this one little step could really help our mental health, because we are taking control of the things we can.

My last point to make about food waste is that we need to look at our history. For years waste and wealth have been symbiotic. If you could afford to throw away food you were rich and the poor had to beg for scraps. Even until recently some people would never wear clothes that were handed down or from a charity shop, because we didn’t want to be viewed as poor. Thankfully now things are changing and we are starting to see that we can at least make a start to reducing the waste in our lives, not only for the planet but our own mental health as well because remember, you matter. Stay safe everyone. Been great doing all this research and sharing what I have found with you. M

ManyThanks again to our resident foodie – M.

Author: Families in Trauma and Recovery

"Ordinary People helping Ordinary People" . We are a peer led, lived experience organisation looking for ways to support others who may need a helping hand.

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