Drinking alcohol out of fruit makes it healthy… right?
According to the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year – and almost 50% of this comes directly from our homes. At a time when households and families are increasingly stretched financially, struggling to cope with essential obligations such as mortgage or rent costs, utility bills and fuel prices – not to mention groceries – it seems incredible that as a nation we’re so casual in the use of our food and the rejection of it.
The UK is not alone. Similar behaviour is present around Europe – the whole EU wastes around 90 million tonnes per annum. We are, in fact, a continent of food wasters.
It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little organisation, preparation and education, food which might otherwise have been tossed away and wasted can be saved and recycled into meals. This interactive guide from ao.com is a useful place to start, suggesting quick and easy recipes for five of the most commonly wasted foods. There are some very simple solutions for food types which are typically trashed.
The No.1 disposable food item in UK cupboards, according to Defra, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Yet it’s so easy to avoid throwing bread away. The main problem appears to be packs of bread which are opened but then not finished. Avoid this by buying a smaller pack, or freezing half of it. Don’t forget, sliced bread can be frozen. If you forget to do that, don’t worry. Blitz stale bread into crumbs for use in a wide range of recipes or tear it into chunky handfuls to make a bread and butter pudding.
A staple in the UK cupboard but too often chucked prematurely especially when bought in large bags. The main lesson here is not to dispose of spuds too early. Most will last a week or two longer than the use by date on the packaging – if a potato has small sprouts appearing it’s still safe to eat. Just slice them off. However, if they’re turning green or brown, time to go. Again, just like bread, potatoes can be frozen. Rather than getting rid, produce masses of mash which can be used again later.
A quick and simple, yet delicious, recipe for potato cakes can be found here.
Bananas go ripe very quickly. A top tip is to always buy the greener ones in the supermarket, as they’ll have a longer shelf life, if only for a few days. But even if the bananas in your fruit bowl turn a dark brown colour they can still be used perfectly well. Mush them up and with just a couple of very simple other ingredients – which many households usually have – you can produce a delicious banana cake; like this one here.
Again, regularly bought in large bags and not always completely used. Fortunately, carrots are extremely versatile vegetables and there really is no excuse for wasting a single one. Slice each into batons for quick and healthy snacks, grate them and use in a tasty carrot cake, or blend up with stock and onion to make carrot and coriander soup. That can be eaten immediately, or batches can be frozen and used in the coming weeks. Worried your freezer is getting a little full? It might be worth considering a larger model or even a chest freezer in the garage – the investment will eventually pay for itself in the savings made on food.
High time to change the attitude when it comes to the humble apple. It has far more potential than just being eaten cold, by hand. Coring and slicing up ageing fruit, then heating it gradually to cook it down, provides a base for crumbles and pies. Same for making apple sauce, which can then be stored and used as an accompaniment to roast pork, which saves you buying a new pot of the stuff from the supermarket every few Sundays. Slice and fry into tasty apple fritters, or bake whole with a filling of raisins and sultanas. These are just a few suggestions – the bottom line is, don’t throw apples in the bin!
They say you are what you eat, so give your skin the extra help it needs by investing in delicious fruits and vegetables to make it shine from the inside out. Clueless about where to begin? Our easy guide below mentions a few options which should be in your shopping cart each week.
While we’re all aware that oranges are packed with vitamin C, did you actually know they are also a great source of natural collagen? Squeeze 2-3 oranges every morning and use them as a daily scrub to nourish the skin.
Although it might not be to your liking, spinach is another vegetable which is also packed with vitamin C. Enjoy it with your eggs, in a salad, or even in a green smoothie.
Ranked as one of the number one source of antioxidants in berries, these delicious little fruits will keep your hair, skin, and nails looking healthy.
Did you know that the secret anti-ageing properties of tomatoes are better absorbed when a dish is cooked rather than raw? Keep the pantry full of canned tomatoes and use them in your fresh and healthy pasta sauce!
Since kiwi fruit is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, you know it has to be good for you! One kiwi fruit a day is enough to keep your wrinkles away, and prevent anti-ageing.
The mention of kale might be a touchy subject for some, but you can’t deny that it’s great for clear skin. Boasting a plethora of vitamins (A, B, C, E, K from memory), no wonder it’s good for your skin!
On to something a little sweeter, cherries have high levels of polyphenols which actually help to clear simple blemishes.
Did you know that figs are packed with fibre and potassium, which clears any skin issues and helps to detox the body from the inside out? Well now you do.
While this superfood is usually used as a main ingredient for detoxing, it also has significant benefits for fighting against skin damage and premature ageing. Add a few slices into your daily juice for that extra healthy kick each morning.
Image via Redbook Magazine
Want to create a fun breakfast recipe that is also child-friendly? Fruit kebabs are an easy breakfast or snack to enjoy at any time of the day – especially since you can really customise them with your favourite fruits and vegetables!
The following recipe takes just 20 minutes to prepare, and makes about 5 kebabs (depending on how big you cut the pieces).
1 can French Loaf bread
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
6 inch bamboo skewers
4 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 250ºF, then bake the bread or French loaf according to instructions on the package.
- Beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl on medium speed before adding the bread cubes to the bowl. Stir the entire mixture well.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan, and slowly soak the bread cubes and add into the pan. Now cook for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat, until they are golden brown on all sides.
- Pour the rest of the bread cubes into the mixture, then slowly add them into the pan. Repeat until all the bread pieces are golden brown on all sides.
- Thread the fruit and bread on each skewer, leaving enough room to hold. Serve with honey and powdered sugar.
Image and Recipe via Tablespoon
Bacon, eggs, snags, toast smothered in butter; otherwise known as heart attack on a plate! What about a healthy Sunday breaky, which is sure to impress, without all that fat? Here’s some easy savoury and sweet ideas for everyone.
Cheese, ham and creamed corn doorsteps
Doorsteps can have almost any topping, but here I’ll describe the cheese, ham and corn variety. The base is a really thick, (about 2.5 – 3 cm’s) high fiber, brown bread. Lightly toast both sides and then add a pre-made mixture of grated cheddar type cheese, diced ham, creamed corn and salt and pepper to taste. If you choose low fat varieties, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Place under a grill, cooking it slowly, until the cheese melts. When it’s ready, the smell will wake the entire household.
You can play around with different topping mixtures; either savory or sweet. For example; add baby spinach for some greenery or grated pear and apples, for a sweet topping. The thick brown bread makes it super filling and different toppings add variety.
Now there’s nothing wrong with eggs, but you just need to be careful of what you add to them and avoid cooking them in fats. For something a little different, poached eggs are cooked in water and therefore, the cooking fat is eliminated. Select a high fiber bread or muffin, to put your egg on; add a light sprinkle of season all, instead of salt and pepper and enjoy.
How about throwing some leftover veggies in a non stick pan and adding an egg or two. Instant bubble and squeak. The egg provides protein and the veggies will add to the 5 serves, required each day. Experiment with various herbs and spices, instead of salt, and you will find you won’t miss it. I use season all, instead of salt. It makes food taste amazing and keeps extra salt out of my diet.
Banana and cinnamon on toast
Cooked fruit is totally underrated. For example; what about some banana under the grill, on toast, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Yum! Nutritionally, bananas are rich in Vitamin C and B6; while cinnamon is high in Calcium and Iron. Both are high in fiber and low in fat; making them perfect for breakfast.
Cooked fruit, yoghurt and muesli
Cooked apple, pear, strawberries, berry mixes or mangos tastes amazing. Why not slice some up, cook in the microwave with a teaspoon of water and then add some yoghurt and muesli. You will have a warm, texture rich, healthy breakfast, which many of us crave in the mornings. Plus, the cooked fruit is much easier to combine through the mixture, than non cooked fruit.
You can even try cooked fruit on pancakes or crepes. Roll them up with a bit of yoghurt and sprinkle with cinnamon. You might want to add a little muesli, for extra crunch. Get creative and try different cooked fruits, either alone or combined with other elements. Avoid adding extra sugar, because cooking the fruit will bring out the sweet flavour.
Try this filling fig and lemon salad the next time you’re stuck on what to have for dinner. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, it is the perfect light meal to end your day. Top off with your favourite vegetables, feta cheese and bit of bread to touch the sides.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1/2 head red lettuce (washed and torn)
1/2 small tuscan melon (peeled, seeded and sliced)
1/2 small spanish onion (thinly sliced)
5-7ripe figs (quartered)
- Start off with the vinaigrette sauce by combining all the ingredients into a small bowl, then whisk lightly.
- Now toss the lemon, lettuce and spanish onion pieces into bowl with the vinaigrette.
- Serve with greens and combine with figs, melon and crumbled feta over the top.
Image and recipe via Not Without Salt
The glorious combination of chocolate and strawberries is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you’re planning a party, chocolate coated fruit is quick to prepare and even quicker for your grateful guests to devour.
250g Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Melts
Freeze dried raspberries
Pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
Nuts or coconut (optional)
- Fill a saucepan with water to 1/3 full. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, not a boil.
- Take a glass bowl and rest it over the saucepan, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. You have now created a double boiler.
- Place 2/3 of the chocolate into the glass bowl and reserve 1/3 for later use.
- With a wooden spoon, gently stir the chocolate as it melts. Place a cooking thermometer into the chocolate and melt chocolate to 45 degrees C. Remove the bowl from the heat and place on a bench top.
- Add the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate to the melted chocolate mixture and stir constantly with your wooden spoon until the chocolate’s temperature comes down to 32 degrees C and the chocolate has melted. You should have glossy, melted chocolate ready for decorating.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and pour the chocolate mixture onto the paper.
- Dip a raspberry into the chocolate, allowing the chocolate to coat half of the berry/pineapple. Remove from chocolate allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl and then dip into the nuts or coconut. Place the raspberry and pineapple pieces on the tray lined with baking paper and repeat this process until you have used all of the fruit.
- Place chocolate-dipped fruit in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate has set.
Eating clean seems to be the new diet trend from celebrities and Instagrammers going 80/10/10 at a bid to feel healthier and lose weight. One of the most popular ways to adapt this eating plan into your diet is by eating 80% raw-vegan, 10% healthy fats and 10% protein. This ensures that your body gets most of its nutrients and energy from fruits and vegetables, and won’t rely heavily on meat and processed food. Although how healthy is this diet?
Since a large portion of meals on the raw food diet include fruits, vegetables and plants, they are more likely to become repetitive since there isn’t much variety. Fruits are seasonal so aren’t available all the time if you’re choosing to go organic. As a result, meals would consist of a large portion of just one fruit of vegetable as the ‘main course’ and smaller servings of protein or healthy fats as a side dish.
This diet might be low in calories, but extremely high in carbohydrates and natural sugar which could be catastrophic to your health. Eating large quantities of fruits can make your blood sugar feel like a roller coaster ride; so you constantly feel hungry and unsatisfied, which in the long run won’t help you lose any weight.
Most organic produce is low in calories which requires you to eat larger portions to feel sustained after every meal. This means eating large meals is one of the best ways to get in all your nutrients. Think supersized portions of fruits and vegetables or juices to keep you feeling full.
The raw food diet is a good example of altering bad food habits and adapting a greener lifestyle into your diet. Fruits and vegetables have many healing properties that aid to naturally detox and cleanse the body, many of which you can grow in your own garden. Cucumbers, red capsicums, and citrus fruits are just a few unprocessed foods anyone can incorporate into their diet to feel more ‘green.’
Although you can choose to grow your own fruits and vegetables in your own backyard, take into consideration that 80% of your diet is coming from organic produce that has a limit before it can no longer be consumed. The pantry must constantly be restocked, and raw food doesn’t exactly come cheap.
Meals are easier to prepare since they are readily at hand, and don’t require cooking. The belief is that fresh and unprocessed food leads to optimum health since a high-enzyme diet helps the body to digest food in an efficient way.
The raw food diet has just as many benefits as it does problems. Fitting this into your lifestyle should be a reflection of your age, health and dietary requirements.
Keywords: diet, raw food, health, raw food diet, 80/10/10, fruit, vegetables
Image via Raw Food Life
By Felicia Sapountzis