Being thrifty with your food

Article Type
Save Money
What To Do
Why Save Food
Article Subcategory

An average family of four can save £60 a month simply by reducing the amount of food they throw away. There are lots of simple food hacks and tips on this website to help you learn how to be smarter with handling food from the moment you start thinking about shopping through to when you are cooking, preparing and serving your meals.

A great starting point is to try to learn one or two simple things to do differently each week and build up your knowledge over a few months. You are more likely to stick with the new ways of doing things in the longer term than trying to do everything right now.

Here are a few things to get you started:

Leftover food recipes – not sure what to do with the odd bits of food left in your fridge? Take a look at our leftover recipes to find something to create with your leftovers. Tip: type in two or three of your leftover foods in the search bar to find relevant recipes to make.

Freeze leftovers – cooked or prepared too much? No problem – just pop them in a container or sealed bag, write the date and what the food is on a label and place it in your freezer. You can freeze most food, however, to be sure why not check out our A-Z Storage tool? And, remember to plan to eat the food at a later date.

Planning how to be a smarter shopper – not everyone likes to plan, however, being ahead of the game with your weekly shopping will help you save a few pounds so it’s worth it. Here are a few tips to think about:

  • Make planning your meals a fun family activity – ask your younger folk to choose something they would like to help you make during the week. If you have some fussy eaters this might also save some food from the bin too as they are more likely to eat food they’ve helped to make.
  • If you live with friends – share an evening meal once a week and make it a social affair. Decide what you’ll cook before you go shopping.
  • Plan some one-pot meals – so meal cooking is simple and you can use up what’s left in your fridge too. You can switch the ingredients to use up the food you already have. Why not try making One pot lentil and butter bean stew?
  • Serving the right amount? – check your guestimates for serving sizes by using our handy Portion Planner.
  • Plan the rest of your meals around your favourites – remember that you can include frozen food or staples from your cupboard. Mixing up the types of food you buy and use for your meals means there’s less chance of having too much fresh food that is likely to go off before you can use it.

Top tip – why not write each of your favourite recipes onto one small piece of card per recipe (suggestion: cut up an old cereal box) plus one card for each day of the week. Stick the days of the week onto your fridge or cupboard door in a row. Then you can easily play around with your meals for the week under each day until you are happy. Plus – you can easily swap meals around if you don’t fancy one on the planned day. Encourage your family, partner or housemates to join in too.

Know what you need before you get to the shop by making a list – and stick to it. We know that this is harder than it seems, however, it’s worth finding a way that works best for you. Make it easy and simple by following some of these ideas:

  • Fridge/cupboard/freezer shelfies – take a snap of the food you have left in your fridge, cupboard and freezer before you hit the shop to remind you what you have already got. This will save you from buying more than you need.
  • Keep an ongoing list on your phone - using your notes app or send a text message to yourself.
  • Pop some note paper on your fridge door - and make a note of things you are running out of when you throw the empty pack in the recycling bin, or waste bin if it's not recyclable.
  • Prepare your list in the layout of your supermarket – this will enable you to spend less time shopping and more time at home enjoying your food.

Plan weekly shops – by reducing the number of times you visit a supermarket you will reduce the temptation to buy extras!

Related articles