Easting sustainably on a budget

Eco-chef Tom Hunt’s ten tips for small changes that make a big difference

We know that lots of families are facing a squeeze on living costs at the moment, and rising food bills are a challenge for many. We also know that many people want to take positive steps to help tackle climate change, but they don’t always know where to start.

We’ve teamed up with top eco-chef, Tom Hunt, to help make climate-friendly eating easy, tasty and affordable for you and our communities.

Did you know that eating sustainably is one of the easiest and most effective way to lower your personal carbon footprint, and cut your food bills? Making small adjustments such as reducing food waste, buying local seasonal produce and eating more whole grains, fruit and vegetables can have a really positive impact on the environment. And the best part is that it usually costs less too.

Easy, affordable, and tasty: Tom’s ten top tips for small changes that make a big difference

1. Be creative

Dig around in the fridge and cupboards to invent a meal that uses up your odds and ends. You’d be surprised what you can make.

2. Follow a Root to Fruit philosophy

Waste nothing. Only top, tail and peel veg if you have to. Try cooking beetroot tops like spinach, serving radish tops in a salad or whizzing carrot leaves up into a pesto.

3. Shop wisely

Before going shopping make a list of the ingredients that you already have in the kitchen and build them into your weekly meal plan. Durable vegetables like roots, cabbages, apples, squash, and onions keep well so buy in bulk whilst buying smaller quantities of herbs, soft fruits, salad and leafy greens.

4. Know your sell/use by dates

‘Sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates are there to make sure food gets to our homes in tip-top condition. But remember food is perfectly delicious and consumable right up until it’s ‘use by’ date.

5. Buy food you love

Spend what you can afford on buying fresh healthy ingredients that you love to eat.

6. Store food correctly

Remove vegetables from any plastic wrapping so they can breathe, keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the fridge below 5°C, store root vegetables in a dark cupboard and wrap cheese and meat well. Bananas ripen other fruit so keep them in a separate bowl – unless you want to ripen other fruit intentionally.

7. Consider cutting back on meat and dairy products

You can switch out some of these things quite simply to help reduce your carbon footprint while also eating a super tasty dish. It will probably cost less too.

8. Love your leftovers

Keep any leftovers, no matter how small, in containers to eat as snacks or for a later lunch. If food gets close to its use by date or you have leftovers that you don’t have time to eat, pop them in the freezer.

9. Eat seasonal produce and shop locally

Try switching a few items in your shop to seasonal and local items. Buying local, seasonal produce means that it hasn’t travelled as far and reduces the carbon footprint.

10. Keep a waste diary

Keep a diary or list of all the food that goes into the compost bin, even peelings and root greens. Reducing food waste is another way of saving money.