Sustainability is a hot topic for everyone but how can we as a military community do our bit to reduce waste? Culinary queen AJ Sharp has been putting things to the test…

I’ve found the simplest way to reduce our family food waste is to buy less in the first place.

If you do a large weekly shop, start monitoring how much of it gets eaten and what you have to throw away at the end of the week.

The easiest way is to shop locally. The food miles are fewer, the quality is often higher and it can be cheaper too.

We did a trial for a month to shop locally as much as possible. We reduced our supermarket shops to just one per month. We arranged for a local dairy to deliver bread, milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt (£15 per week) and a local fruit and veg box delivery (£15pw). The local butcher did a family meat box for £25 per week. That’s all the essentials for just £55 a week.

We did need a few other odds and ends like wine – of course – and I can’t live without chocolate Hobnobs. But we saved so much time, reduced waste and packaging, ate everything we ordered, consumed more wholesome food and saved money in the process. We haven’t looked back since.

There are other ways to keep your bills low and help the environment. Old veggies are perfect in soup or blended into pasta sauce – you can even throw limp lettuce in. If they’re well past the sell by date then consider using a portable compost bin, which you can take with you when you’re posted.

The biggest energy saver, and it takes a bit of organisation – which I’m working on! – is to cook several things once your military oven is up to temperature. For example, save the mixture and bake that cake whilst the evening meal is cooking.

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