How to Be Less Wasteful as a Food Blogger

How to Be Less Wasteful as a Food Blogger

Lately, I’ve noticed something that’s really irked me. If you couldn’t guess from the title, it’s wasteful food bloggers. (Professional food and product photographers too, but we’ll stick to bloggers for the sake of this post.) Yes, food blogging can require a lot of trial and error. You may get sick of eating the same thing over and over while testing recipes. But that doesn’t mean you should toss the leftovers in the trash! Or your edible props, for that matter! Food waste is a huge problem, so even though you may be paying for the food you’re trashing, the practice is still pretty uncool. Luckily, throwing massive amounts of food away or polishing them up with substances that make them literally inedible is totally avoidable. In this post, I’ll share a few tips and tricks to help you avoid being a wasteful jerk.

Eat what you make (or find someone else to eat it for you).

This may seem like a no brainer, but it had to be said. If you’re not eating what you cook, what’re you doing with your life? I’ve found this to be especially common amongst baking bloggers. Which makes sense. Especially for those who post new content multiple times a week. I mean, who can eat that many cookies without absolutely destroying their body?

But if this is something you’re dedicated to and you aren’t morally bankrupt, you should really either find a way or re-evaluate your approach. To stick with the baking theme, try sprinkling in some bakes with actual nutrients in them. Things that you won’t feel totally guilty about eating!

If changing your approach and eating your own food isn’t something you’re interested in, give food away to friends. Or neighbors. Maybe drop some of it off at a homeless shelter, or hand it off to someone in need elsewhere. If you’re good at what you do, chances are someone’s gonna want it.

Save uneaten food for later.

Now while I don’t meal prep, I do make double what I need for dinner so that I can eat it for lunch the next day. This applies to most recipes that I create, too. If you’re part of a couple, that simply means developing recipes that serve four. This works out great, since recipes that serve four people are kind of the norm anyway.

If your recipes are larger by nature, can they be frozen? You’d be surprised by all the things you can freeze. For instance, like many other millennials, I’ve gotten really into sourdough baking while I’ve been stuck at home for the past few months. The recipe I normally use yields two loaves of bread. I don’t need two loaves of bread. But future me does! So I put one in the freezer for later. I’m always delighted to find a frozen loaf when I don’t feel like baking but want my bread fix.

Many things can also be repurposed. Getting creative doesn’t require much effort, and can also result in easy recipes that allow you to link to other recipes in future blog posts. It’s a win win.

Don’t make your food inedible for the sake of a photo.

People often ask me if I employ any tricks when shooting food. Y’know, like shooting cereal in glue instead of milk. Well, I’ve never made my food inedible for the sake of a photo. I haven’t needed to. And honestly, doing so feels a bit like false advertising. The thing about tricks like this is that for a good photographer, they’re unnecessary. Get good at taking photos quickly, and you won’t need to rely on these sorts of hacks! Instead, develop other types of hacks that’ll help you avoid these. Like scooping and styling ice cream and then putting it back in the freezer for a bit so that you have more time to shoot it.

There’s also the ol’ overturned bowl inside a bowl trick. If you want to keep garnishes in a soup from sinking, for instance, put a smaller upside down bowl inside your bowl before pouring the soup in. Then add your soup, along with the garnishes, which’ll rest delicately atop the interior bowl and its shallow layer of soup. It’s a brilliant trick that buys you time without creating waste.

For the love of god, don’t shoot something with no intention of eating it.

I’ve seen Instagram stories where people gave behind the scenes looks at styling or photography sessions and then finished them off by shoveling everything they just shot into the trash. Someone I know recently shared that the bowl of pasta featured in their photo was actually covered in ketchup, rather than marinara. And also that they don’t even like pasta. This sort of wasteful behavior fills me with rage. Just, why?! I’m not even going to provide trips for avoiding this. Just don’t do it.

Shoot small.

Wanna know a secret? I almost exclusively use salad plates in my food shoots. It makes it looks like there’s way more food than there actually is. I do the same thing with bowls. Like these bowls right here? SO small. One person could’ve eaten all that soup as a meal, yet it looks like a true feast.

One more time: save uneaten food!!!

I know I already discussed this, but I want to take it a bit further. Recently, I posted a Quarantine Cocktail. I’m pregnant. I can’t drink right now. Yet I posted this recipe that featured three cocktails. Guess what, though. When I was done shooting, I poured them in a pitcher and my husband drank them over the next couple days! It’s not hard to avoid waste if you get creative.

How to Be Less Wasteful as a Food Blogger

In conclusion…

Just be mindful. I’m not asking you to be perfect. I’m certainly not. I can be wasteful sometimes. Some shots kind of necessitate it. Like this one.

How to Be Less Wasteful as a Food Blogger

But apart from the liquid that splashed out of the glass, I drank all that dang juice.

So next time you go to shoot a recipe, think about what you can do to be a little bit less wasteful, whether that be making a small batch of ugly pasta with your leftover ravioli dough, freezing the better portion of a batch of bagels, or composting unused veggies or egg shells. I promise it’s not hard.

If you have tips for being a less wasteful human, or other thoughts on this subject, let me know in the comments! I’m also on Instagram, if you’re not already following along there.

2 thoughts on “How to Be Less Wasteful as a Food Blogger”

  1. YES! Food waste is such an issue. I’m not the target food blogger audience here, but our house’s best tips for less food waste are to save scraps to make stock, make pesto out out any greens that are going bad, and to label and date all leftovers that go into the fridge.

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