Top tips for avoiding food waste

Kelsie Learney takes kitchen waste out of her bin

(This is a stock image, and isn’t me by the way!)

Just a quick post tonight as I was out at a tasting with a wedding caterer (very exciting!).  Wasting food is one of my pet hates and I’ve been trying to think of some of the ways I avoid it.  Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are my thoughts below:

  1. Don’t buy too much.  Obvious really, but if your fridge is crammed you lose track of what needs using up.
  2. Make good use of your freezer to store leftovers.  I’ve talked about this in detail before.
  3. Store food properly.  I’ve noticed that when keeping carrots on a shelf in my warm, they go disgustingly soft and mushy within a fortnight, while in the fridge they last weeks.  Even more important for meat and fish – don’t leave them sitting out.
  4. Have leftovers for lunch.  This can be good even if it’s not enough for a full meal on it’s own (bolognaise sandwich, anyone?) and you can always bulk out a little leftover meat or cheese in a salad, for example.
  5. Cook proper portion sizes.  I never have leftover pasta or rice, because I weigh or measure before cooking rather than trying to measure by eye.  Think about how much you’re cooking and try to have just enough rather than too much.
  6. Keep older items at the front of the fridge where they’ll be seen first.  Whether that makes you want to use them up is another matter!
  7. Experiment with leftovers.  The best way to avoid getting sick of a particular food and having to bin the rest is to know lots of different things to do with it.  For example, roasting a butternut squash will give us enough for the whole week, so it’s useful to know we can put it in a curry, use it to top a salad or blitz to make soup.  It’s also good to turn leftovers into something different by jazzing them up with new flavourings.
  8. Be flexible.  Don’t run out to buy soured cream to have with your fajitas if you already have an opened carton of Greek yoghurt in.  By knowing what can be substituted for other things, you can more easily use up what you have rather than buying something else.
  9. Tailor meals around what you’ve got in.  Likewise, when meal planning, plan to use up what you already have first. It can help to literally pull the old food out of the fridge when making your meal plan so you can visualise how you’ll use it.
  10. Check out for more tips – this is a really useful resource with tips on portion sizes and ‘use-it-up’ recipes.

I’m sure there are loads more tips out there, but that’s all I can think of right now – what are your top tips for avoiding food waste?


3 thoughts on “Top tips for avoiding food waste

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