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Reduce food waste this Christmas, save money

By Geoffrey Mutegeki

Added 22nd December 2016 11:42 AM

Wasting food means wasting money. The value for your money is when you buy food and eat, it all.

Reduce food waste this Christmas, save money

'Tis the season to make merry. (Credit: The New Paper)

Wasting food means wasting money. The value for your money is when you buy food and eat, it all.

The festive season is here with Christmas is just a few days.

Christmas means dining, drinking, having fun an renewing one's commitment to God.

As it's a norm in Uganda, many families are planning to buy or have already bought lots of food and drink for the big day.

But what is worrying is that a lot of food bought to celebrate this day ends up being wasted many times.

Wasting food means wasting money. The value for your money is when you buy food and eat, it all.

Food wastage is not Ugandan problem alone, it is worldwide with an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes, or about one-third of global production, is lost or wasted each year. But families can change this trend and save money.

Dorothy Nabuguzi of Mama's Meal Catering Centres, advises families to buy only food they will finish.

"Foods like meat don't go bad quickly and they are easy to keep. But chicken, fish and others go bad easily. It is better you buy what you can consume and the rest deep freeze it or give it to those who are needy instead of throwing it away," Nabuguzi said.

She says it is better to start planning what to buy, how many people will be eating with.  Because this will enable you to buy food that people will eat and finish.

You must buy what you need to buy when you really need it. Or else your money and food is destined for the bin.

Lilian Tusiime, a resident of  Mutungo, says she buys a lot of food because she wants to spoil her family.

"Why should I buy little food yet I cannot keep going back to the market. I know some people buy just enough food, but I need to learn how to do that," she says.

It is advisable, to prepare smaller meals and putting the number of people who will consume it in consideration.

Hillary Muhumuza, a resident of Mukunyu, says while growing up, he remembers his family preserving leftovers from Christmas and enjoying them after that, but adds these days, this no longer seems to be the case.  

"When food is left over, the next day they throw it away, this all contributes to food wastage," Muhumuza says.

However Nabuguzi says if one handles leftovers well,  they can be consumed in the days after Christmas. One has to store the leftovers in a fridge and warm them before eating them.

"The situation is tight now, no food should be put to waste.  You can roast your meat to enable it stay longer, deep freeze that chicken, or better cook the food that goes bad so easily," Nabuguzi says.

She cautions families on good food handling.

"Some foods go bad just because of poor handling. Good hygiene is good for food to last longer," she says.

Before buying that food, come up with a shopping list and stick to it to help you avoid impulse buys and save money.

"Having a shopping list is not enough. You need to also know what you will be eating as a family. You must have a menu or else you will just buy food and waste it," Nabuguzi said.

Many families don't know what they are going to cook, know what you're going to cook to save yourself time and effort at the end of a busy day.

"Many people think when you eat the food and finish it all you are not satisfied. That is why they serve them too much food. But I think this can be changed," says Claire Muyera, a housewife from Mukunyu, Kyenjojo.

Being more careful about what food and drinks you buy and how we use it will soon start to add up.

Samuel Mugambya, a teacher in Mutungo, says food wastage does not apply during Christmas alone, but most times including parties, homes and other functions.

"I always see a lot of food being thrown away especially on parties. This needs to change not only on Christmas," he says.

But if you can't eat all the food, give it to those who don't have. According to the 2015 report on the State of Food Insecurity in the World released by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, hunger remains an everyday challenge for ten million Ugandans.

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