Spinning up smoothies to save food waste

Lillybeth Melmoth with an avocado, parsley, kale and protein powder smoothie. Photo: Chris Callinan.

While we usually crank out the whizzer when daylight saving shows its face, Tauranga’s Lillybeth Melmoth has been slurping the cool food year-round. Even in winter.

But her efforts have ramped up after winning a blender at a recipe swap breakfast in Tauranga, which aimed to spread the word – including tips and tricks – on how to save food from the bin by consuming it.

Lillybeth has been a smoothie drinker for about seven years. “I started making shakes using a protein powder and just milk.

“Then it became a little bit more like smoothies, as I started adding fruit and vegetables – that’s how I make them now. I use protein powder and use up fruit and vegetables in my house before I consume fresh stuff.”

And the recipe swap breakfast, delivered locally in November as part of the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign, has refreshed her thinking on how to not waste food.

“I have, in the past, chucked out food because I wasn’t quick enough to get it into the fridge or freezer. “Or I’d buy things and not store them properly.

“Like I bought a whole bunch of celery and the plan was to use it up in a soup. But I just put it, as it was, into the bottom of the fridge and it wilted.

“So after the discussion I bought celery again. But this time I knew to cut the stems like a bunch of flowers and put them into water to keep it fresher.

“I don’t know if I used it quicker but it didn’t wilt this time – and I was able to use all of it. So it’s about being more conscious of storing things properly too.”

And Lillybeth says that’s her main woe. Storage. At the breakfast, freezer trays were given out. “I had a whole lot of lemons in my fridge. They’d started on my bench and began looking sad so I put them in the fridge.

“Recently, I whizzed them all up and popped them in the freezer trays. Some I kept as full lemons, so I didn’t skin them because you can eat the rind.

“Some of them I just juiced. So now I have those for my smoothies too.”

But does taste come into consuming all of these smoothie concoctions? “It does. And normally I use almond milk. But with tomatoes, for example, I use water as my base instead.”

The other day she had tinned tomatoes – she only needed the tomatoes for a recipe – and would have normally flushed the juice down the kitchen sink.

“This time I put the tomato juice in a smoothie.”

So water, tomatoes, spinach from the freezer, protein powder “then I put in some sweetener like Stevia drops, because they have fruit flavours”.

“So you can make it taste sweeter or different.’

So when things start to wilt at your place, remember Lillybeth’s smoothie-making ways. It might even save you some money on the grocery bill – year-round.

Love Food Hate Waste’s 10 top leftover tips:

Get them into the fridge within two hours

This is the most important thing when it comes to leftovers to ensure they are safe to eat. Make sure the leftovers have cooled then cover them and get them into the fridge within two hours of cooking.

Eat them within two days

Either eat them cold or heat them until they are piping hot.


If you know you’re not going to eat your leftovers within two days, freeze them. Not only will freezing your leftovers ensure you don’t waste them, it will also build a supply of meals for when you need something fast for dinner. If you don’t have enough containers for freezing, try using sandwich-sized snaplock bags for things like soups and stews. They stack well in the freezer and are quick to defrost.


Label your leftovers with what it is and when it was cooked so you don’t end up with a freezer full of UFOs (unidentified frozen objects).

Eat me first

Have a way of identifying what leftovers need to be eaten first. This is especially important if you live in a house with children or flatmates. Use an “Eat Me First” sticker or have a designated shelf in the fridge for free-for-all items. This will also stop hungry teenagers snacking on the food you plan to use for dinner.

Take them for lunch

Eating your leftovers for lunch are a great way to save time and money. If you have lunch plans, eat them for breakfast!

Mix and match

If your leftovers are accumulating in the fridge, set aside a regular meal each week when you raid the fridge. Your meal may end up being a random assortment of food, but you’ll get a night off cooking. Make sure you have staples such as wraps or eggs to bulk out the meal if necessary.

A little bit can go a long way

If you’ve only got a little bit left, try turning your leftovers into a pie, putting them on a pizza or pad them out with extra vegetables, beans or bread on the side.


Master a couple of simple techniques to help you transform your leftovers into a new meal, so you’re not eating the same meal twice. Try a frittata, soup or pie.

Be smart about servings

If you have a family to feed, let everyone serve themselves. This will allow them to only take as much as they think they will eat. Rather than scraping leftovers from people’s plate into the bin, you can store what’s left in the serving dish for another day.

For more information, visit: www.lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz