Following on from last weeks blog about the basics of meal planning, the next stage is the shop.
You should already have your list for all the ingredients needed for your planned meals, so make sure that you don’t leave the house without it. Sticking to the list should make your shop relatively easy, although the supermarket can be littered with many potential food waste mine fields.
Now I have the benefit of living very close to a supermarket, this means that I can pick up ingredients throughout the week with little or no effort. I tend to pick up the bulk of my shop on the Saturday but leave any perishables that I know I don’t need until later in the week. I’ll pick up these remaining items later in the week which means they’re fresher when I come to use them and if there’s been any curve balls during the week, with meals being missed, it will help to reduce food waste.
One of the important things about the list is to ensure that you’ve got down quantities needed for the recipes, this will stop you buying bulk ingredients that aren’t needed and will later rot.
The fruit and veg aisle for me is the most likely to result in food waste, I tend to never buy pre-packaged vegetables. Generally the quantities are much higher than needed, you also can’t always assess the quality of the vegetables and quite often pre-packaged fruit is actually higher priced than the individual items.
Another supermarket trick that I find can lead to increased food waste is the BOGOF and multi-buy offers. Now I’m all up for saving cash but in reality, you’re not saving if the food ends up in the bin. Before I take advantage of any offer, I ask myself the following 2 questions:
Will I use it before the use by date?
If not, can it be frozen?
If the answers no to both of these questions, then I leave it on the supermarket shelf.
My final tip would be the food storage, I basically freeze all items that can be if I’m not using them over the next two days. This again means that if any thing crops up during the week and I have to skip any of the meals planned, the products don’t have to be thrown away. Before I freeze the shopping, I split up the packages into portion sized freezer bags to avoid having to defrost more than needed when it comes to use the food
And to be honest, as shopping tips go, that’s all I have. The meal plan and list really is the key, but I would love to hear from anyone who has their own tips.
I like to incorporate a leftovers / eat up day once a week or so. Just to try making something random from any odd bots that might be lying around either in the fridge, freezer or cupboards. I find it tends to reduce food waste as well, and if that turns into a pancake night to use up those apples that are looking about to turn, or banana loaf. Well, its all good. 🙂
Hey Affordable living, yes it’s amazing what you can do with a couple of left-overs and what meals you can actually knock up with what’s already in stock. Pancakes are a great idea, not something I cook up regularly but will be adding them to my menus. I also find things like omelettes and pasta bakes are easy great ways to use up left-over ingredients.
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