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  • Emily Westlake

One Day at a Time: Food

I imagine that everyone knows it's 'Pancake Day' today, as so many shops are doing Pancake Day promotions. For many Christians like myself, 'Shrove Tuesday', as it’s also known, is traditionally a day to use up the foods we might give up for Lent, which is why we have a feast of pancakes and sweet items today. Lent starts tomorrow – a 6-week period of preparation for Easter (involving prayer, eating less, giving to charity, and trying to let go of bad habits).

Text: We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

One of the things I'm always trying to do is to make eco-friendly choices in my daily life; such as, being careful not to waste the limited resources we have available.

Each week during Lent, I'm going to post a blog about different materials (e.g. food, plastics, metals, etc), with tips on how to reduce, reuse, recycle or upcycle. Trying to be eco-friendly can sometimes feel overwhelming, so I always suggest people make one small change at a time. Choose some small changes which feel are manageable for you – don’t try to do everything! As Anne-Marie Bonneau says, "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."


Whether you follow Lenten traditions or not, it’s good (from an eco-friendly perspective) to regularly take time to consider what you have and what you actually need. What foods do you have in the cupboards, fridge, or freezer, that need eating up? What can you use up this week, rather than buying something new? What foods are you not going to use, and could give away to others?


I went through my freezer last night and found various pots of leftovers in the bottom that had been languishing there for months! If I had left them there much longer, they would not be edible anymore. So, I’ve taken them out to defrost and use up, to avoid food waste. I also have some frozen fruit (a mixture of fruit that I've frozen myself, or bought frozen) that needs using up. In the back of my fridge, I found jars of sun-dried tomatoes, and peppers, I had forgotten were there, which would make a great contribution to savoury pancakes; and I have a jar of apple puree, and some yoghurt, which would be great in smoothies, or on pancakes.

Pancakes are great for using up leftovers. Here's a recipe I published in 2013, when I was working for BBC Learning English: Recipe for Pancake Day


However, if you’re not into pancakes, here is a blog I published at the beginning of January, on various other ways to reuse leftovers: One Day at a Time: Reusing Leftovers

Smoothies are also a great way to use up leftovers of fruit, some veg, and things like yoghurt and milk. You can also throw in things like apple puree, broken biscuits, leftover pudding/cake, chocolate spread or peanut butter. Here’s an example of a typical smoothie I would make:

  1. Half fill smoothie bottle with milk (I tend to use almond milk)

  2. Add frozen or fresh fruit/veg (I often use banana, peach and/or mango)

  3. Add a few spoons of yoghurt.

  4. Add some ground nuts/seeds, or biscuit crumbs, or other sweet leftovers.

  5. Blend in your smoothie maker. Enjoy!

Next week's blog will be about reducing, reusing, recycling and upcycling plastics.

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