This year National Nutrition week is all about how to try for your five serves of veg each day by embracing your food “waste”! Trying to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfill is good for our health and the health of our environment. Did you know that food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year? It can cost the average household up to $3800 per year, and if that is not enough to shock you, we waste enough edible food to fill 17,000 747 jumbo jets. Here are some tips to try for five serves of veg a day while helping your wallet and the environment:
- Eat more parts of your vegetables; such as skins, stalks and leaves. You would be surprised with how tasty some of the more overlooked parts of fruits and vegetables can be. Cauliflower leaves are a great side dish and pumpkin seeds roasted in the oven make the perfect snack. Other parts of your vegetables can be stored in a container in the freezer and used as a base for your own vegetable stock.
- Use up your ageing vegetables that would otherwise go in the bin. We love getting experimental with our leftovers. So many leftovers can be repurposed into something different but are just as tasty for a quick weeknight dinner or meal. Casseroles, soups, dips and stews are great dishes for using up ageing veg.
- Choose “ugly” and “imperfect” vegetables to prevent them going to landfill. 25% of farmers crops do not leave the gate simply because they are deemed “ugly”! These imperfect vegetables are just as nutritious, and often cheaper. By selecting “imperfect veg” you are keeping money in your pocket, trying for your five serves and reducing food waste.
- Extend the life of vegetables by freezing. If your vegetables are starting to deteriorate cook them prior to freezing to retain flavour and nutrients. This will also halt any degradation and the heat will destroy any bad bacteria prior to freezing.
For more Country kitchens Tips on how to “Waste not, Want not”, look to page 26 in our Healthy Cooking Guidelines and check out our recipes at http://www.qcwa.org.au/countrykitchens/. To learn more about this year’s nutrition week topic and for some eat more, waste less recipes head to http://www.tryfor5.org.au/. We especially like their Summer Table recipe for Roast Veg and Quinoa Salad… see below!
Roast veg and quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
50g sugar snap peas or snow peas
400g roasted pumpkin (or other roast vegetables)
4 handfuls rocket
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 handful flaked almonds, toasted
50g feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
6 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon of honey
- Heat saucepan and add quinoa to toast for a few minutes until it starts to crackle. Remove, rinse and then place back in the saucepan.
- Add stock and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the saucepan, reduce heat to medium–low and simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t lift the lid. When time is up, remove from the heat and stand for a further 5 minutes (without lifting the lid). Allow to cool slightly.
- Steam peas for 1 minute until they are bright green but still crisp. Drain, fill pot with cold water and drain again to stop them from cooking.
- To make dressing, shake ingredients in a jar until combined. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Toss cooked quinoa, peas, pumpkin, rocket, onion and mint leaves together in a large bowl.
- Pour dressing over salad and combine. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and feta. Serve cold or warm.
Tip: Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking as the seeds are coated with saponins which, if not rinsed, gives the quinoa a bitter taste. When cooked perfectly, the quinoa will be slightly translucent, with a visible ‘tail’, which is part of the hull.
Variation: Quinoa comes in a range of colours, so experiment a little. White quinoa is softer, while red and black quinoa are slightly crunchy and don’t stick together as much.
Recipe courtesy of Summer Table by Jodie Blight
Nutrition Australia. 2018. Try for 5. Available from http://www.tryfor5.org.au/.
National Food Waste Strategy: Halving Australia’s food waste by 2030, Commonwealth of Australia 2017. Available from http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/4683826b-5d9f-4e65-9344-a900060915b1/files/national-food-waste-strategy.pdf