The holy month of Ramadan is about to begin. And while fasting and feasting are the cornerstones of the Ramadan festivities, it also leads to major food wastage.
A 2017 NST report stated that up to 270,000 tonnes of food gets wasted in Malaysia during Ramadan. The number doesn’t represent the waste from bazaars alone but also from hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and even our households.
In general, Malaysians generate about 38,000 tonnes of waste daily. Around 15,000 tonnes of this is food waste, and this can increase by up to 50% during festive periods, according to The Star.
The report also said that since Malaysians love their food so much, they tend to order or buy more than they can consume, which leads to overspending and other health-related issues.
When the extra food is disposed of improperly, it may end up in the drains that flow into our rivers. This doesn’t only pollute our rivers but also clogs them, which in turn increases flood risks.
Because of this, the Ramadan Hijau campaign was introduced last year. The campaign basically advocated minimising of food wastage by encouraging Malaysians to:
- Replace disposable plastic bags with recyclable and reusable food containers.
- Consume food responsibly during Ramadan and the Hari Raya celebrations.
That said, we don’t have to wait around for such campaigns to start purchasing and eating food responsibly. Do it as soon as possible to save the environment and to prevent yourself from overspending and dealing with health issues like obesity.
Here are 4 simple tips to reduce food wastage during the holy month of Ramadan and shop smartly at a Ramadan pasar.
1. Plan your meals and stick to a budget
It will be easier to control how much you spend on food when you plan your meals in advance, whether you want to cook at home or buy your food at a pasar Ramadan. Before you go to a pasar Ramadan, make sure you know what to get and have a budget in mind.
If you’re single, a budget of RM10-RM20 a day may be enough for buka puasa and sahur. For those with a family, a budget of RM20-RM30 is recommended. Limit your purchase to 2-3 items a day. Buy something that everyone can enjoy, like nasi campur berlauk.
The following table is an example of what you can get at a pasar Ramadan with a small budget (RM10-RM20 per day):
|Ramadan Meal Plan
|Food Item||Price (RM)|
|Mee hoon soup||RM3.50/bowl|
|Day 2||Tepung pelita||50 cent/piece|
|Day 3||Kuih talam||60 cent/piece|
|Day 4||Kuih lapis||40 cent/piece|
|Tomato rice + ayam masak merah||RM5.00/set|
|Day 5||Kuih talam berlauk||RM1.00/piece|
|Day 6||Bingka gandum||50 cent/piece|
|Day 7||Popia basah||80 cent/piece|
|White rice + ayam percik||RM5.00/set|
Always remember to include dates and water in each of your meal.
2. Create a shopping list and shop smart at a pasar Ramadan
You’ll have a shopping list once you’ve planned your Ramadan meals. Remember to stick to your budget based on your lifestyle.
These are some more tips to shop smart at a pasar Ramadan:
- Don’t bring your kids along
- Especially those with small children. It might be a bad idea to bring them along to the pasar Ramadan as they could distract you from buying only what you need.
- Buy grilled food or anything that’s properly packaged
- Grilled food or foods that have been properly packaged tend to last longer (a day or two). If you can’t finish them, you can always reheat them for the next day.
- Buy healthy and nutritious food
- To save on healthcare in your golden years, start eating healthy and nutritious food. Avoid food items that are oily, fatty, and high in sugar or salt content.
- Get to the pasar Ramadan early
- Most pasar Ramadans would open at 4pm or 4.30pm. If possible, try to get there as early as you can. If you get there early, it won’t be too crowded, and you’ll find it easier to get the items you need and avoid shopping under pressure, which could also lead to overspending.
3. Buka puasa or iftar at a mosque
If it’s too late for you to get your food at pasar Ramadan, another alternative for buka puasa is to break your fast at a mosque. A good majority of mosques in Malaysia would serve free iftarmeals for their visitors.
4. Don’t miss the ‘moreh’ at mosques
In addition to the free iftar meals, many mosques would also serve a ‘moreh’ or refreshments after the Tarawih prayers. You can expect sweet desserts like kuih lapis or even savoury snacks like murtabak and popiah. Sometimes, you can even bring them home. This would be perfect if you haven’t bought the food for sahur yet.
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Ramadan!
Article by: Dayana Sobri on behalf of Bbazaar Malaysia.