Cooking & Reuse
When it comes to reducing the food wasted in your household, how food is portioned and served can make a big difference.
Have you ever gone to cook rice or pasta and guessed what you need, added a bit more (just to be sure!) and then ended up with way too much? It happens all the time with all sorts of food and much of this becomes food waste. That is why proper portion measurements are so important. Some food packaging has recommended portions but these are usually in weights and many people don’t weigh out their food (even though this is a great idea).
Instead, use some measuring implements that help you with the staples. Make sure to use the same one each time and then you can figure out what works for you.
When planning your meals use portion planners which will help you buy the right amount at the start. Download and consult the HSE Serving Size Guide to find out what portion size constitutes a balanced diet. Use whatever you have handy at home or use the Stop Food Waste spaghetti measure and rice scoop if you have one.
Regardless of how you do it, try to measure out your food portions. Help with healthy eating is available via the Healthy Ireland top tips and myth busters for Healthy Food for Life.
Serve food in bowls at the centre of the table – this allows people to take what they want while saving food for use as leftovers. Most of us would not want to save food scraped from someone’s plate but are happy to do so if it’s still in a bowl or pot.
If you are putting food out on a plate, start with small portions and then supplement it with serving bowls. For more guidance on portioning according to age and food type, check out these Department of Health meal plans and guidelines.
Many restaurants have changed plate sizes and even the scoop sizes for serving. Try the same at home. It has been found that you can reduce the amount of food on a plate by 1/4 and people will still be content with their lot.
Change the bowl sizes for kids. They are little people and using adult plates or bowls, even with smaller portions, usually means portions that are too big.
If you are keen to get your hands on a Stop Food Waste spaghetti measure or rice scoop, keep an eye on the social media accounts where we frequently organise giveaways!