According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, the average UK household throws away £470 worth of food every year, and up to £700 a year for a family with children. This is up to £60 every single month of food that we chuck in the bin because it’s close to its best before date or because it’s been hidden away in the back of the fridge for too long.
Think about what you could do with an extra £60 a month – it would be nice to put that in a savings pot or to have on stand-by just in case something unexpected crops up. We’ve found some of the best tips for reducing your food waste so you’ll be wasting food less, and filling up your savings pot more!
- It all starts with planning.
If you head to the supermarket without a proper plan, you can almost guarantee a proportion of what you pop in your trolley will end up in the bin. It might seem a pain, but doing a quick stock-take of your fridge, freezer and cupboards and jotting down a weekly meal plan before you nip out should guarantee you avoid unnecessary purchases.
Grab a notepad and work out how many meals you need to plan for and then fill in the blanks. Go for healthy, cheap and filling meals you know everyone likes, and the more you can make from scratch the better it will be on your pocket.
Now head to your fridge. Check to see if you already have some ingredients for your planned meals and give them a quick check to see if they’ll still be okay for when you’ll be cooking them. Then you’ll avoid double buying ingredients and make sure you use up every last scrap of last week’s shop.
- Better storage means longer shelf life.
You can beat the best before date if you’re clever about how you stock your fridge and store your food.
If you’ve opened a pack of food, make sure to tightly close it again. If it doesn’t reseal, grab the cling film or tin foil and wrap it tightly to avoid air getting in and spoiling what’s left.
Freezing food works really well for making sure it lasts even longer. Got a half-eaten loaf of bread that you’re struggling to get through? Pop it in the freezer and you can pull out individual slices as and when you need them. If something is getting close to its best before date and you haven’t planned it into your weekly meal plan, stick it in the freezer and work it into next week’s schedule.
Finally, double check your fridge’s temperature. Love Food Hate Waste recommend it is kept below 5 degrees to keep everything fresher for longer.
- Use up those odds and ends.
When it’s coming to the end of the week, there may still be a few tomatoes rolling around in the salad drawer or some lonely herbs wilting in the fridge. Here are some clever ways of using up odds and ends so you don’t have to chuck them out – and they’ll add some texture and excitement to your regular meals!
- You can puree veg that’s on the edge to add into pasta sauces. An excellent way of using up food and also getting some hidden vegetables into fussy kids who won’t notice a thing! Fruit can be whizzed up into a smoothie or as a sauce for ice cream, or even frozen in lolly moulds for a refreshing cold snack.
- Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil to use as flavour enhancers. Tear up the herbs and scatter equal amounts in an ice cube tray, and top up with olive oil. Next time you want a burst of flavour, pop a cube in your pan and let it melt before you fry meat or veggies.
- The old end of the week soup or stew is still a great way to prevent wasting food. Simply rustle up everything that’s hanging around in your fridge and chop it up. Add stock, herbs or tinned tomatoes and cook it all up. Blend for a soup, or add meat or a grain for a stew. If you want to be a bit more creative, why not try a fried rice? Boil your rice, fry up your veggies and mix up together in the pan with seasoning.