How many times have you looked at wilted vegies in the fridge? Or sighed as you reluctantly scraped your leftover Bolognese sauce into the bin? Again.
With a bit of clever know-how, you can reduce your food waste and stretch your family budget even further making your meals last extra days. Nutritionist, author and celebrity chef Zoe Bingley Pullin shares her tips:
1. Bulk out meat based dishes
Animal based proteins can be expensive especially compared to plant-based proteins. In addition to saving money, there are numerous health benefits associated with replacing a few meals with plant-based proteins. If you’re new to this way of eating, start with adding plant-based protein to dishes, which also use animal based proteins as a way to bulk out the dish and make it last longer. Some examples include:
- When making a Bolognese or pasta sauce, add ½ lentils and ½ mince
- When making a curry or stir-fry, reduce meat by half and add a can of chickpeas or diced tofu.
2. Make leftover vegetables into an easy pasta sauce
At the end of the week, fry off leftover vegetables e.g. onions, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot with some extra virgin olive oil, spices, herbs and simmer with a bottle of tomato passata, before blending to create a veggie-packed sauce for pasta, which can be used to create express meals.
3. Eat root to stem
Avoid discarding parts of plants which aren’t readily consumed for example, use broccoli stalks in soups and purees and mashed potatoes, beetroot leaves in stir-fries and curries or fennel fronds in dips.
4. Create a label and date system
Label and date food before freezing it to remove any uncertainty around whether or not it can be eaten or has sat too long in the freezer. Try keeping a list of meals or foods you have frozen and each week when meal planning, refer to the list with the aim of using up these foods first.
5. Use your stick blender
Stews and casseroles can be pureed into soups to create a new meal and frozen into individual portions. Simply microwave to defrost and add some freshly buttered bread for a 5 minute lunch.
6. Don’t throw out leftover herbs
Use up leftover herbs/spices (eg garlic, ginger, coriander, mint) by blending them together to create a curry paste, to use immediately. Or freeze them.