Many of us want to save money and eat better too but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. So here are a few tips to help you ‘waste less and save more’.
Wasting less food can help your weekly budget go further, as well as being better for the environment.
Why should I care about food waste?
We through away 7.3 million tonnes of food waste each year, that’s an average of £700 per year, per average household!
Cooking on a budget
Cooking from scratch - spending time preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than buying a takeaway or convenience meal, especially if you already have the cupboard essentials. You can cook in bulk and freeze the portions, saving you time and money.
Watch your portion sizes - make sure that your portions aren’t too big; this will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but also make food go a little further.
The whole flat eats at the same time - When the whole flat eats at the same food, it can be more cost-effective and save time.
Buy frozen or canned - frozen or canned fruit and vegetables are often underrated, they last longer and are often much cheaper.
Compare price per weight - the price of fruit and vegetables either loose or pre-packed varies. To make sure you get the best possible price, check the price per weight. Take advantage of fruit and vegetables on offers, including what’s in season.
Eating leftovers - cook an extra portion or two and have the leftovers for the next day. Leftovers can also be frozen for another day for a quick, ready prepared lunch or dinner.
Cooking just for one - just because a recipe serves 4 doesn’t mean you can’t cook it. Once cooked, divide into portions and freeze or serve as leftovers the next day.
Freeze bread - bread is one of the most wasted household foods. You can reduce waste by freezing it in portions.
Time your shopping right - visit the supermarket an hour before closing, or late on in the evening as items are more likely to be at a reduced rate.
Know you dates!
Knowing the difference between the dates on food means you can avoid wasting things that are still good to eat, while making sure you use up the items that will go off.
Best Before: eg bread, biscuits, pasta, rice, fruit, canned food. These food will be safe to eat after the ‘best before’ date but they may no longer be at their best.
Use By: eg meat, fish, milk, eggs. These dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after, even if it looks and smells fine.
Display Until and Sell By. You can ignore these dates as they are for shop staff, not for shoppers.
TOP TIP: you can freeze food anytime up to the Use By date!
Planning and Shopping
Avoid waste by buying the right amount of food each week. Think about the meals you would like to make and how many people will be eating.
Shopping list - avoid over-buying by making a list of items you need at the shops.
Apps - There are apps that could help you plan and shop.
‘Shelfie’ - Take a picture of your fridge or cupboard shelf to remember what you already have before you shop.
Meal planning - think about the meals you would like to make and write them on a wall chart.
Store Cupboard Essentials
Keeping herbs, spices, canned food and dry ingredients in the cupboard will help you create a delicious meal when the fridge is looking bare.
Herbs, spices and stock cubes - these are great for flavouring soups, casseroles, curries, stir-fry's and pasta dishes. Check the label for low salt options.
Pasta and rice - these are easy to cook and a perfect base for many meal.
Canned vegetables and fish - canned veg is cheap and will help you eat your five-a-day, and canned fish is a cheap source of protein.
We hope you’ve found these hints and tips helpful and remember if cooking isn’t one of your strengths you can always join us for the One Pot Cookery session.