As we’re now being encouraged to shop less frequently, we need to make sure that we get the most out of what we buy.
Here are our top tips for making the most of what you’ve got and minimise what you throw away.
- Create a weekly meal plan and shop accordingly. Think about how many dishes you can make from one main ingredient. For example, roast a chicken for one dinner, and then make sandwiches for lunch the next day. Finally, make stock with the carcass, and turn it into soup or the base for a risotto. One chicken - three meals.
- Store your leftovers properly, and make sure you use them. Check and rearrange the contents of your fridge regularly to see what needs using up and what is still safe to eat.
- Clear out your cupboards and find all the tins and packets of things that you’ve got in there. Writing a list of everything could be a good activity for the kids. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find and what you can make with it.
- Understand the dates on products. Generally use-by dates are on fresh food and are about product safety, so don’t ignore these. Best before dates are about quality, so you could still use something but it might not be at its best.
- Batch cook and use your freezer if you have one. Family favourites like a meat ragu can be changed up into a variety of meals with different seasoning and spices. If you’ve got the freezer space, make a big batch of something from one shopping trip and use it over several different meals.
- Root to stem means using more of your vegetables than you might have been doing. For example, you can turn potato and other peelings into homemade “crisps” by adding a little oil and seasoning and popping them in a hot oven. Peel broccoli stems, chop into small pieces and cook the same way as the florets. You can even make pesto from the leaves on things like beetroot.
- Have your own family Masterchef-style invention test with your leftovers. See who can come up with the best idea from what you have and then cook it together.
- Did you know the three most commonly wasted foods in the UK are potatoes, bread and milk? Make sure you store each one correctly, and if you need some ideas on how to use them up, check out the UK Harvest website here ( https://www.ukharvest.org.uk/news-and-media/the-most-commonly-wasted-foods-in-british-households-and-how-to-rescue-them)
We hate to see food go to waste at any time, and we’re proud of the partnership between Central England Co Op and Fare Share. They redistribute our surplus food from our stores, creating one million meals a year for those in need. Surplus food belongs on tables, not in landfill. We’ll continue to support FareShare to turn surplus from our stores into meals for those in need.