“Best before” labels: do they increase food waste?

Food which is otherwise thrown out, is being salvaged and sold at heavily discounted prices to people who need it. “Foodies” of Cape Town, South Africa are selling damaged food or food which is past its “sell by” or “best before” date at significantly reduced prices. the-issue-of-global-food-waste

The “sell by” date was first introduced by Marks & Spencer’s in their warehouses in 1953. The intention was for the retailer to know by when to sell their products.

Over the following two decades the “sell by” date was tweaked to “sell until”, “display until” etc.   It’s all very confusing for the consumer!  And as a result tonnes of food is wasted every year.

In 2009, the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs was quoted as saying that, the UK alone, throws away 370,000 tonnes of food each year.

Date labelling is mandatory under European law.

What happens if you consume food past the date on the packaging?

As long as you use your common sense and follow your nose, nothing will happen. Have you ever eaten a pot of yogurt “expired” by a few days?  Try it. I promise, you will live to tell the tale!

If you have fruit and vegetables in the bottom drawer of your fridge and they’ve been sitting there for the past five to six weeks, you do not need a date on the packet to tell you they’re not good to eat. They’re probably soft and mouldy and I suspect a foul smell hits you every time you open the fridge door.

“Sell by”, “sell until”, “best before”, “display until” are all meant for stock and quality control.  It is only “use by” which is meant to be taken literally, for food safety reasons.

A restaurant in Denmark is making use of fruit and vegetables which the supermarkets throw out.  The restaurant is sponsored by a charity and the proceeds from food sold go towards funding development projects in Sierra Leone.


Personally, I believe that one of the reasons retailers insist “best before” dates are not removed, is because they play on the consumers’ minds. No matter how much is said or written, a great number of people will still choose to “play safe” and throw out their “expired” products, resulting in increased sales.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think products past their “sell by” date are fit for human consumption? Leave a comment.

My thanks go to:

BBC News (Africa)

The Guardian online

The Telegraph online (food and drink)

Visit Copenhagen


Some fat is good for you

I came across this video which I thought I’d share with you.  I appreciate it is advertising a new book, but the message of the video is worth bearing in mind.

So much for low fat foods! In order for food to be stripped from its fat content it has to be processed; no thanks.  How can cheese slices  be called cheese? They remind me of plastic! Starchy foods – rice, potatoes, pasta – are OK in moderation (unless, you’re Lionel Messi).

I am inclined to go for real food … from the earth to the table.  Thanks to progress, we have to be mindful of the amount of pesticides and chemicals used, but I believe it is still the better option.

A friend of mine left a very relevant comment on my “Strawberries” post the other day, “…we have to go backwards to go forwards” – so true!

What do you think?




Do I gain weight eating healthy food?

Yes; my ex-personal trainer used to say, “Losing weight is a question of math! Energy in minus energy out must leave you with a deficit.”

My friends and colleagues say it’s easy for me, because I eat healthy.  True; I do eat healthy.  But, it does not mean I do not gain weight when I relax my portion control.

Portion distortion

When you compare today’s food plate to that of 20 years ago, you will understand the term “portion distortion” in a flash.  Today’s plates are bigger and we tend to fill them up.  The end result is – over-eating.

Avoid portion distortion

Calorie intake depends on lifestyle.  For example, my problem today is, I still eat the same amount of food like I did when I went to gym six days a week.  Not good!

The Palm Rule

Food portions are smaller than we think. A portion of lean protein for a guy is approximately twice the size of his palm; for a woman it’s half that amount.

Fruit is another healthy food to watch out for.  It contains a high level of natural sugars which hinder weight loss if consumed in large amounts.  If your goal is to lose weight, try and stick to having 2 – 3 portions of fruit a day.



Eating out can get tricky when you are watching what you eat.  Vegetables are a healthy choice, but not when they’re covered in butter.  At home, I do not hesitate to have a baked potato or wedges, but when I eat out I avoid baked potatoes. They’re loaded with fat; sometimes worse than fries.

So for those of you who think healthy eaters are lucky … think again!  Too much healthy food can still make you gain weight.  Experience taught me it’s best to be a mindful eater.

The benefits of training yourself to eat sensibly carries a life-time guarantee.


10 Healthy tips to remember

I was browsing through my usual food sites and came across this page by Jamie Oliver. He doesn’t say anything we haven’t heard before, but I really like the way he puts things.  No fuss, no big words, he makes it sound all so simple!

Jamie lists 10 very important tips, for a healthy, happy life.  Who wouldn’t like to be healthier and happier? So,

  1. Cook from scratch
  2. Eat a balanced diet
  3. Variety is key – eat the rainbow
  4. Understand what you’re eating
  5. Eat nutritious calories
  6. Don’t skip breakfast
  7. Read the small print
  8. Drink more water
  9. Keep active
  10. Sleep well

Easy, isn’t it?

I can hear some of you say, but I’m hopeless at cooking, or I have no time.

It's never too late to learn


It’s never too late to learn.  Where there’s a will there’s a way!  Just over 20 years ago, before the world wide web took the world by storm, foodies like me used to buy all the recipe books they could lay their hands on.  Today, video tutorials make it so much easier.

There is a healthier, happier person inside calling to come out.  Let them out …


Lunch box ideas

When I was a little girl (many moons ago!) I remember carrying a wicker lunch box to school every day.  My siblings and I, were brought up having packed lunches; very often bread and fruit, in those days.  I guess old habits die hard, because up to this very day, I find it difficult to buy ready-made lunches. I think they’re pricey and not quite to my liking (I know I’m a picky eater!)

Suggestions for your lunch box

healthy lunch boxWith a bit of planning, you can pack yourself a varied lunch box every day of the week, at a fraction of the price.  And if you think planning is going to take too much time, break it down. Say:  pasta on Monday; salad on Tuesday; a wrap on Wednesday;  some soup or rice on Thursday; and a bread lunch on Friday.

You do not have to follow a rigid timetable; left-overs from the night before make excellent lunches. When preparing supper, factor in an extra portion which you can either freeze or make use of later on during the week.

Family-Fun-Lunchbox-IdeasVariety is the spice of life! Keep food simple and varied; it challenges your metabolism and keeps you healthy. Pack a piece of fruit or raw nuts for when you get peckish.  And wash it all down with plenty of water.

The possibilities are endless!

More lunch recipes for you to try and enjoy …