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How to waste less food & save more money

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According to a survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by InSinkErator, the average home throws out 6.5kg of unwanted food each week – that’s 338kg per year and hundreds of pounds wasted! We’ve put together some top tips to help you waste less and save more money.

From looking ahead and preparing your meals, to what to do with food that’s past it’s best, by putting these tips into action you'll find yourself wasting less and saving more.

Food Waste Facts! Did you know...

Grey food bin filled with food, on a wooden floor

Credit: iwradio

We often don't realise how scraping away a little each meal time can really add up. Here are some (shocking!) food waste facts for you:

  • Roast dinners and leftover Chinese takeaways are the top two most frequently thrown out meals with over a quarter ending up in the bin.
  • Pasta bake, curry and rice, fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese, stir-fry, lasagne, risotto and pie are the next to be bin-bound.
  • 6 out of 10 families fail to finish all the food on their plates so scrape leftovers into the bin.
  • Families throw away a 1/3 of a ton of leftover food every year. Reasons for this include over-estimating meal quantities and children not eating foods.

Your Essential Food-Saving Kit

Ziplock tupperware filled with raspberries, peanut butter and biscuits

Credit: Ziploc

Double duty zip lock bags that can be vacuum packed to save space in your fridge and freezer.

Tupperware boxes in different sizes and shapes. Cylindrical shaped Tupperware is good for soups and stews.

Bread clips – these come in handy for sealing shut anything that comes in a plastic bag and will prolong the life of these foods by keeping air out.

Buy ice cube trays specifically for leftover condiments, sauces and juices. You can freeze pesto, lemon and lime juice not only saves on waste but they’re easy to add in when you’re cooking.


Plan and Prepare

Lined paper with shopping list written out, with a yellow pen on top

A shopping list can save you time, money and reduce waste. Keep a list in the kitchen and note down what you’ve run out of or need more of.

This will help prevent doubling up or buying things you don’t need.

When planning your meals alternate between fresh and frozen ingredients. You can always skip the days of frozen when your plans change.


Remember: Cook Once – Eat Twice!

Woman spooning cooked casserole into a clear tupperware container

Credit: Real Estate

When cooking a meal always forward think and prepare a second meal from the leftover ingredients or dish. There are plenty of website online that specialise in leftover recipes. The BBC Good Food has a large selection.


Here are some ideas of our own for food for thought...

Cooked banana bread resting on a steel cake holder on top of a tea towel

Credit: BBC Good Food

If last few slices of cake are getting dry or stale then use them to make a trifle instead. Just add jelly, cream, custard and decorate.

Instead of throwing out the ‘bookends’ of a loaf of bread, chop them up into cubes and fry with garlic for croutons.

Salad is commonly leftover on plates. Save your uneaten salad leaves and add the croutons, and other ingredients like tuna for a salad the next day.

Bananas going brown? They're perfect for making delicious banana bread! Whip up this tasty recipe next time your bananas are looking a bit worse for wear.

Leftover mash can be turned into tomorrow’s fishcakes. Just add flaked fish, season, and refrigerate your patties ready to breadcrumb and bake the next day. Leftover mash is also perfect for making into hash browns!

Pasta can be re-used in a soup or pasta salad the next day.

Roast dinners – use the meat for salads, sandwiches, etc. Use the veg for soups.


Make Food Go The Distance - how should I organise my fridge?

Open fridge filled with food, including veg, fruit, condiments, meats and juices

Credit: The Telegraph

Ensure you keep your food at its best for longer by ensuring you are correctly storing it all in the fridge. Keep fruit and veg in the drawers at the bottom (onions, potatoes, bananas should be kept in cool, dark cupboard), meat and fish should be covered and kept on the shelf above the veggie drawers. FYI: This is the coolest part of your fridge.

Keep your cooked meats, like ham, and all your dairies on the shelf above the raw food. The top shelves are the warmest part so keep pastries, eggs and general items there.

Extend the freshness of potatoes by keeping them in a cool, dark place in a breathable sack of bag. Keep an apple in among them as they help stop sprouting.


Handy Hints

Ice tray filled with herbs ready to be frozen

Credit: Serious Eats

Fresh herbs can be frozen and then crumbled straight into your recipe before they defrost.

Keep green peppers in airtight ziplock bags to keep them fresher.

Keep your bread in room temperature with the bag tightly wound up and in a bread bin.


Control your Condiments!

Spoon resting on empty jar of Nutella

Credit: Someecards

It’s easy to start stockpiling half-empty jars of gone off condiments without even realising. We often don’t eat a whole jar of chutney or mustard in a few sittings and most only keep for a week or two - resulting in binned condiments.

Think outside the jar and make sure you get the most out of your sauces. Use the last scrapings of jam by adding milk and shaking the jar to create a delicious milkshake.

Nutella can be savoured right to the last lick by adding your favourite ice cream into the jar and chopped bananas = a delicious chocolate sundae!