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Let's Be Honest, Episode 23: Why It's So Easy to Eat Out

Let’s be honest is a Food Circle project to open up the conversation about the challenges when being or becoming a member of the SC (Sustainability Club). This series will shine a light on the different approaches to making life more sustainable and the step-backs and difficulties that arise. Being more kind and understanding, instead of critical, will hopefully help to encourage us to try instead of giving up when facing a step-back or failure. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world, creating a uniquely multicultural environment.

Let’s celebrate the achievements and give room for honesty and struggles!

What's the Problem?

In this day and age, convenience and comfort is a luxury that many of us in the global north can afford. Most of us lead busy lives. We come back home after a long day of either work or studying, and we are too tired, therefore unmotivated, to use up the food that is sitting in the kitchen. As a result, it has become increasingly easier to order a meal through any of the amply available food apps.

While this action is not inherently bad, making a habit of it is not very sustainable. As consumers, we tend to contribute largely to food waste [1]. According to the FAO, some of the reasons for consumer-level food waste are poor planning, overbuying, and having large portions at restaurants [2]. In addition to the drastic effects on the environment, on a more personal level, wasting food can also take a toll on our budget.

What Are the Solutions?

In order to help tackle this issue, compiled here are a few tips to motivate you to use the food that is already in your fridge.

1. Prep the produce

To make cooking faster and much smoother, chop up the vegetables right after your trip from the grocery store. Seeing the vegetables cut up in ready-to-use portions will give you the push to cook and utilize the food you bought. However, it is important to know which vegetables can be prepped ahead as well as how to properly store them [3]. Additionally, buying canned foods or foods in glass jars such as legumes will cut a lot of the cooking time and add extra nutrition and protein into your diet. Both cans and glass jars are recyclable and glass jars can be reused for various purposes which will ensure that nothing goes to waste.

2. Fast cooking grains

When I lived in a college dorm, one of my favorite things to make and eat was couscous. It’s simple, cooks quickly, and super versatile. Grains like couscous, quinoa, farro, and even orzo (yes, technically a type of pasta) can be added to a plethora of dishes, hot or cold, such as salads, stews, soups, and wraps. The best part is that they require little to no cooking experience. They’re also nutritious and help make sure that you stay fuller longer.

3. Spice blends

This one’s a no-brainer. Spice blends take little space in your pantry, they have a long shelf life, and effortlessly add tons of flavor to your dishes. They’re really just a well-rounded shortcut to a hearty meal.

4. ‘One-pot’ recipes

Another hindrance to cooking at home is the cleaning. It’s one thing to prepare a meal, having to wash the dishes adds a monotonous layer and can discourage somebody from cooking all together. This is where one-pot recipes come in. One-pot recipes, as the name suggests, require minimal tools and appliances. A one-pot dish is fairly simple yet it does not compromise on flavor and can be quite healthy, too. There are many recipes to choose from online (Pinterest is a great place to start looking).

5. Invest in an air fryer

The benefits of an air fryer are many. It can cook anything from fresh vegetables, meats, and frozen foods, to pancakes, donuts, and dry fruit snacks. It is also relatively straightforward to clean, making it a lazy cook’s best friend.

To Wrap Up

It is easy to get overwhelmed and caught up in today’s bustling everyday life. Still, being conscious about our eating habits and overall food consumption is a crucial step to keep track of our individual carbon footprint. Knowing what we are going to eat before buying food, creating a practical cooking routine, and, most importantly, being mindful about what and how we consume food are sure ways to do our part towards food waste and the environment.

Author: Rima Qayed


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  1. 17% of total food available to consumers in 2019 was wasted |Food Loss Reduction CoP| Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

  2. Consumer Food Waste | Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

  3. Tips for Storing Cut Vegetables to Keep Them Fresh | Craftsy