How to avoid Wasting food

Big headlines today about Tescos announcing figures on the the amount of food that is wasted so of course I had to comment.

Although the reports centered on the amount of food thrown away at the supermarket, it also highlighted the huge amount that is wasted by families.  The BBC report states that an average of £700 worth of food is thrown away by each family.

Much of this waste is easily avoided by applying a little thought and discipline to your weekly shop.  Yes it takes a little effort but you will soon find that following some of these tips will not only save you from throwing away food which also impacts the environment but will save you a huge amount of money.  It will also save you time in the supermarket as you can avoid the aisles where you don’t need anything and whiz around quickly.

My first tip is:

1: Make a Shopping List

I always make a list before doing my weekly shop.  Some while ago I made myself a list of the things that I regularly buy or like to have in stock as an “aide memoir” so that I can check my stocks to see if I need to buy a particular item and put it on the list.

This brings me on to my next “tip”

2: Know your Fridge, Freezer and Cupboards.

Before going shopping check your fridge to see what is still in there.  Most of it will be still usable so plan to use it in the next day or so.  This will also help you avoid duplicating something which you did not need to buy.

At least once a month go through your freezer and check what is in there.  I make a list in the back of the same book I do my shopping list in and cross things out as I use them.  Check the dates on things and plan to use up some of the older items.  Again this will help you avoid duplicating things.

Similarly go though your cupboards on a regular basis – make a list too if it helps and identify tins or dried foods which are getting older and plan to use them.  Most of these are still safe to use even when out of date but plan to use them as soon a possible.

3: Plan your Meals

Now you know what is in the freezer and cupboards etc make a plan of what you are going to cook for the week.  I have a multi column calender in the kitchen where I write down what we have each day and plan the meals for the week.  Alternatively you could use a small white board or something to write your plan on.  I have found though that sometimes I get to a planned meal and just don’t feel like it that day so I will either swap the meals around or have a couple of back up ideas to cook.  Remember though to keep a check on food which is fresh and may become unusable if you don’t use it soon enough.

4: Bulk Cook

Sometimes we will see an offer that is too good to pass or is more economical to buy in larger packs.  I usually take advantage of the 3 for £10 offers when I buy meat and split the packs down into small bags for the freezer.  (Learning some butchery skills like how to cut up a chicken can save you a lot of money too as a pack of chicken pieces can often cost as much as a whole chicken).

Alternatively when making a meal cook double (or more!), separate out into portions and put the remainder the freezer for another day.  This is also a great way of saving money by not buying ready meals or you can pop it in the microwave or oven instead of calling for a takeaway.

5: Portion Control

Many people have been brought up to eat everything on their plate so that nothing is wasted which is a commendable idea but also leads to overeating.  Try using a smaller plate and dishing out a smaller portion.  If someone really does need some more then it is there but you will probably find that the smaller portion is enough.  What is left over can then go into a container to be used the next day or go in the freezer rather than scraped off a plate into the bin.

6: Check Dates

Finally, on the news report I saw on the TV one “adviser” was saying that people should shop more frequently than once a week and buy  food for only 2 to 3 days as this would avoid your food going out of date by the end of the week.

I don’t agree.  I have found that if I go to the shops more regularly, I actually spend more and lose track of where I am with the weeks budget so I am now trying to be more disciplined and apply the rules above and as far as possible only shop once a week.  All you need to do is check the dates on items as you buy them.  I always check to ensure that I get the longest possible dates on perishable food or re-order the meal plan to make sure that food is used in the optimum order.  If this is not possible, then sometimes I simply don’t buy it.  A nice offer of 2 punnets of strawberries is no use if you are not going to be able to use them and end up throwing one away (make jam instead)

The list can go on and on and I will add to this another time but there is really very little excuse to throw food and you can save yourself a lot of money with a clean conscience too

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3 responses to “How to avoid Wasting food

  1. (y) 🙂

  2. Sorry, the (y) was supposed to yield a thumbs up/like symbol!
    (Can anyone enlighten me how to make that actually happen?!)

  3. there is a “like” button – that may suffice

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