Wednesday, July 20, 2016

9 x How to waste less food when eating out

This is part two of my 'How to waste less food' posts. I could tell you how many billions of euros are lost on the tonnes and tonnes of perfectly good food that gets thrown away every year, but I'm sure you're not here to read about the statistics. I'm more about DOING something about the problem, so I'm here to give you my best tips on how to waste less food when eating out at a restaurant. 

1. Don't over order. I know it's tempting to try the whole menu and order a bit of everything, but if you know in advance that you can only really manage to eat one plate then there's always a next time to try that other dish. More reasons to come back! 

2. Sharing is caring. Maybe you're not a big eater, in which case you can easily share something with your table companions, like a starter or a dessert. Or if you have a hungry boyfriend he can help you finish your plate ;)

3. Ask for specifics. Maybe there's a nice salad on the menu but you don't like tomatoes, so just ask the waiter if 1) there are any tomatoes in the salad and if yes 2) the chef could leave them out. It's just an example, but you can apply this to any dish. You'll get the dish exactly how you like it and you're wasting less food, win-win. 

4. Eat the salad. I often see that people leave the side salad because they think it's there for ornamental purposes only. Okay, it might be there to make your plate look fuller but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat it. The salad is also usually the lightest part of your dish and it adds extra vitamins to your - most likely - slightly unhealthy restaurant meal. So just eat it.

5. Portion sizes. I read once that portion size is one of the main reasons why people don't finish their plates. This is why you should always ask the waiter or check the tables around you to find out how big the portions are and maybe ask the reduce the size or make it "starter size". In the States, for example, the portions are usually absolutely massive so you can easily share one dish between two. 

6. Skip the extras. There are a few complementary things you get at restaurants which you shouldn't really be eating if you want to enjoy the food you paying for 100%. For example, the bread or the little cookies you get with your coffee. Eating the bread will make you feel full before you've even started the meal, and the little cookies are just extra unnecessary calories.

7. Doggie bag. Some people might get uncomfortable asking for a doggie bag to take home the leftovers, but I think this is a great way to reduce food waste. Restaurants actually don't ask this often enough (in most countries they don't), but it's usually an option. Enjoy the leftovers the next day or give it to your dog (they'll LOVE leftover meat).

8. Don't go too crazy on the buffets. On buffets, try a bit of everything before piling up a huge plate of food you won't finish. The great thing about buffets is that you can go back for a second round (or third, fourth even!)

9. Substitutes. Main dishes containing meat or fish often come with fries, potatoes or vegetables. If you prefer mashed potatoes over fries, just ask the waiter to swap it. Or if you're watching your diet, substitute fries with a salad or grilled vegetables. 

These are some easy things you can do to reduce food waste. People often don't really think about this issue when eating out, but if we'd all be a bit more conscious.. :) It's hardly an effort but you'll get more out of the whole restaurant experience. If you want to waste less food at home check my first post with 11 tips!

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