Easter is over….how did the Lent challenge go?

I know – Easter was a while ago but I still think I should just revisit the Lent challenge for completeness.  How did I do overall?  On the reduce waste front, I thought more carefully about using up the contents of my fridge. I had some good leftover lunches but then as I am based at home I was pretty good with that already. I love leftover lunches even if they are a bit strange.

What I did struggle with is leftover bread. Getting the number of baguettes right is not our strong point.  There is a lot that you can do with stale bread and there does seem to be quite a lot of french recipes based on old bread.  Pain Perdu, topping for cassolet or a gratin, stale bread with cheese at the bottom of a bowl to have hot soup poured over, making croutons etc.  And then of course there are the more British ideas that I do often -bread and butter pudding (both savoury and sweet), making a topping for a cauli cheese, and the famous veggie sausages.  But I have to admit to throwing away quite a bit of stale bread!

What about the 10 portions of fruit and veg?  I don’t think we do too bad with fruit and veg in our house – it helps having a vegetarian in the house and two kids that like their fruit and veg.  But did we get to 10 portions?  I think on a few days – yes we did but not often.  Did we have days when we were less than five?  Yes I think there were.  Did thinking about trying to get more in the day mean a higher average?  Yes, I think it did.  I think I was more inclined to grab some fruit as a snack, I think I thought more about adding some fruit to breakfast and I think I was more inclined to think about the veggies at lunch and dinner.

The challenge was a great way to make me think a little bit more about both my food waste and the whole ‘at least 5 a day message’.  It made me a little more mindful of how I was shopping, planning meals and choosing food.  Not all the time but more so.  Something that maybe we should do more of.  Just thinking a little more.

Food is something that becomes habit very easily, we disengage our thoughtful, assessing decision making brain when it comes to food so often opting for the habit, the easy automatic option.  The easy meal deal, the same foods in the shopping trolley, the automatic portion of dinner, the eating the biscuits that we don’t really like because they are in front of us, buying the offer even though if we stopped to think a moment we know we won’t use it all up….Making ourselves stop and think a bit before we shop, before we cook, before we serve up our food could be helpful in tackling food waste and in improving the way we eat and ultimately our health.

A simple challenge that makes us think a little could be a good thing.  Especially as we are surrounded by cheap, easily available food and food marketing all the time.  Give it a go.  Set yourself a challenge, enough to make you think a bit but not to make yourself feel guilty for not achieving it, just to see if it makes a difference.  A positive small challenge – an extra portion of fruit or veg a day, write shopping lists and stick to them, consider portion sizes when serving food.  It may help to forge some new better habits.

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