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It’s a trying time for all of us amidst this pandemic. In addition to hoping and praying for the best, we can also make things a little bit easier for ourselves and for others by being cognisant of smart food budgeting strategies and avoiding food wastage. Assessing what you already have and planning your intake, taking what you need and not overbuying, as well as utilising what you already have in your pantry, will allow you to maximise your food and minimise wastage while simultaneously allowing others to access the food that they need. Food is vital as a source of comfort and nourishment and I hope that the following tips can help you maximise your food and avoid wastage during this time.

Get Creative with Leftovers

Some are not a fan of eating leftovers but this is one of the biggest culprits of food waste! Don’t label leftover as old or stale for food but as convenient ingredients for your next meal. For instance, if you have some extra noodles left, whip an easy stir-fry by tossing in some veggies you have on hand like onions and carrots. Saute noodles and veggies you have on hand, coupled with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil for a full delicious meal made of leftovers. Transform your leftover plain rice into a sweet dessert. Just toss your leftover rice with butter in a saucepan, add some frozen fruits and coconut milk and allow cook it down until it becomes a thick, creamy rice pudding.

Stock up Non-perishable foods

Stock your pantry with food products with long shelf-life like dried beans and canned fish as they a smart way to keep food for a long period of time as opposed to fresh foods which tend to expire fast. Amazingly, canned and dried food are affordable and can even be more nutritious! Dried or canned beans, lentils and chickpeas, amongst other pulses, are great sources of vegetable protein and various vitamins and minerals. Their long shelf life as dried and canned foods are a huge plus and they’re also extremely versatile, allowing you to use them for a variety of soups, stews, curries and salads. Canned fish like sardines, tuna and other fishes are a great source of protein and healthy fats. They also make for a great addition to salads, pastas and bread.

Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

It’s important to have a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables not just during this time, but always. Remember that fruits like frozen berries, pineapples, apples and mangoes can be added to juices, smoothies, porridge, yogurt, cereal and so much more after defrosting. Great news: it’s mango season and here’s a helpful way to make the most of your magnificent mangoes. Freeze your mangoes whole or peel them prior, place in a sealable plastic bag and store way in the freezer. Now you can make mango chutney or whip up some mango amchar talkari year-round with no waste. Moreso, preserve fresh seasonings like pimentos, garlic, chadon beni by grating or chopping them up and placing in airtight containers or sealable plastic bags. It’s a great way to give fresh ingredients longevity and it makes for when you’re to cook them.

Article by Sonali Sooknanan

Sonali describes herself as a granny in a millennial’s body. She is a Communications major and Literature minor, passionate about understanding the human condition and unravelling deeper truths about life that are embedded in everyday, mundane occurrences. Above all, Christ and her loved ones, but also coffee and cake, keep her going.