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Save money on food bills

With the average family throwing away approximately £50 worth of food per month, it is vital that we all get to grips with our food bills. From left over bread, mushy fruit to yoghurts past their use by date, we are all guilty of throwing away uneaten food. Below are a few top tips on how to save money on your food bills and minimise food waste.

  • Get to know your dates!

The first top tip is to begin by searching your fridge. Fridges can become highly unorganised by the end of the week with many items pushed to the back and forgotten about. Spend 10 minutes mid-week and examine the use by dates on your purchases. Anything that is going out of date that you won’t get chance to eat, consider if it can be frozen and used another time. If you have yoghurt that are going out of date and you have far too many to eat, try using them up in fruit smoothies. By organising your fridge and keeping an eye on the use by dates, you will be one step closer to saving money and waste.

  •  Know the difference

Food packaging can be difficult to understand, but in order to save money, you need to understand the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’.

‘Best Before’ dates on food are exactly that; taste best before a certain date. This doesn’t mean that the food has to be binned after this date, it simply means that it may not taste quite as good. For example, crisps can be eaten after their best before date safely, but over a period of time, the crisps will begin to lose their crunch.

‘Use By’ dates are entirely different. These are put on by manufacturers for safety. Meat and dairy products in particular will have ‘use by’ dates printed on the packaging. Anything past its ‘use by’ date could be dangerous and lead to issues such as food poisoning.

  • Store cupboard essentials

It is important for all kitchens to have store cupboard essentials. These items include dried pasta, rice, tinned items and various frozen items so that anything that is left over can be made into another meal. When you have used it, make sure you add it to your shopping list to ensure you have a consistent supply.

  •  Portion control

A lot of food is often wasted due to poor portion control. It is tempting to load up plates, but often it only means that a lot of the food can’t be eaten and is thrown away. Get used to lowering portions for dinners that you regularly cook too much for. For items such as bread, if you enjoy having bread in the cupboard but find you can’t eat the full loaf in time, freeze half of the bread and defrost when needed. If having for toast, you won’t even need to defrost!

  • Planning

Plan your meals for the week. By having a list of all of the items you need, you will be able to buy what you need and nothing more. Make sure you check your fridge and cupboards before making the list to make sure you don’t duplicate any purchases.

  • Love your leftovers!

Finally, don’t bin your leftovers. Leftovers can be re-used in another meal and don’t need to be thrown away. Chicken for example can be used for a roast on a Sunday then any meat left over can be used up in a curry, casserole or simply used as sandwich fillings.

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