27 June 2022 at 17:09
Reduce food waste and save money today - Try these hacks!
With rising fuel and food prices we are all looking for ways to reduce our monthly outgoings. So how efficient is your food shop? Do you use everything you buy? Could you waste less?
Here are our top tips to spend less, waste less and save more...
1. Shop from a list
It sounds very simple but it really does work to plan out what you need in advance, and stick to your shopping list. Online ordering can be helpful as you can review your basket afterwards and check that you haven’t added any impulse purchases.
2. Choose your multibuys wisely
You can save a lot buy buying common items in bulk – but stick to necessary items like toilet paper, cleaning products, tea bags and long-lasting grains like rice. Avoid the temptation to bulk buy snacks like crisps and chocolate – research shows that having excess in the house usually leads to eating more than usual – so you actually end up spending more per week instead of less.
3. Store foods right
Knowing the best way to store fresh foods can prolong their life. A bag of salad will last several days longer if you place a piece of folded kitchen towel inside the bag before popping it in the fridge. Bananas should be stored separately as they make other fruit ripen more quickly. Cheese needs to breathe so should be wrapped in baking paper rather than cling film. It’s also worth checking your fridge is at the right temperature – you may need to adjust the thermostat in summer and winter months.
4. Everything can be frozen (nearly)
Almost all the fresh food that lives in the fridge can be frozen for 2-4 months – even raw eggs, which can be cracked and frozen in a muffin tin before being transferred to a freezer safe bag. Go through your fridge and take out anything you won’t eat before its expiry date, and check if it can be frozen. Vegetables may need to be blanched first and those with a high-water content (like lettuce and cucumber) don’t freeze well. But staples like bread and milk are fine in the freezer.
5. Cook in bulk
It’s usually more cost-effective to pre-cook soups, stews and other dishes in large quantities then separate them into portions to freeze. Not is this a more effective use of ingredients, but you will save energy on cooking time as the frozen portions can be quickly reheated in a microwave. You can buy glass storage dishes with lids that are both freezer safe and oven/microwave safe - so you simply grab it from the freezer and cook it in the same dish.
6. Use all edible parts of your plants
If you have a habit of chopping off leaves and stalks when preparing your veg, stop and check if you are throwing away an edible portion. The leaves of most root vegetables can be eaten, so don’t waste leaves from beetroot, carrots, radishes etc. The thick stem of a broccoli can be cut into cubes and cooked like any other vegetable. You could save up to 20% on your monthly vegetable spend this way.
7. Go to the back of your cupboards
Own up – what’s been lurking in your food cupboards for more than 6 months? Perhaps you have some tins of food you bought during lockdown “just in case”. Maybe some bags of dried pulses and lentils that you can’t be bothered to soak so you eat canned versions instead. Or perhaps there are some bags of grains that you wanted to try but were never quite sure how to cook, which have been left unopened. Pull out anything that has been in your cupboard for more than 6 months and put it in sight, then find a recipe and commit to it this week.
8. Cut out the soft drinks
The only drink your body really needs is water. If you are spending money on fizzy drinks and squashes take a minute to calculate how much you could save by ditching them. If you find it hard to adapt to water, try making your squash a little weaker each day until your taste buds adapt. Fresh fruit juice like orange and apple can be diluted half and half with water to go further, and in fact this is a healthier way to consume them.
For more tips and ideas, check out the following: