I’ve just caught up on the TV show where a ‘wasteful’ family are shown as as an extreme example of over spending on food. One family in question spent £250 a week in food including plenty of takeaways. The family appeared very busy, had slipped into bad habits and would buy food without thinking about what they already had and what they would do with the food they put in the trolley. The end result was food waste. Now, it’s easy to get into bad habits when people are busy.
We’re a busy couple, with full time careers, work to do at home, dogs to walk and a home to look after so we are not going to be kitchen martyrs and stand in the kitchen every night thinking about what we’re going to eat. I make sure we eat quickly, cheaply and eat the food we enjoy. A little bit of planning now and then, not even every week saves me time, effort and certainly money.
If I were to work with any of the families on the show, I’d give them the following help.
1. Stock take what you already have.
2. Create menu ideas with what you have. If you’ve a pile of lentils/tinned pears/cheese , then a simple google search of “recipes with lentils” or whatever ingredient you have to give you some ideas of what to do with it.
3. Try and create as many ideas with what you already have.
4. If you have a whole pile of durable, in date food that you think you’re not going to use, bag it up and take it to a food bank collection point.
5. If you have spare food you don’t think you’ll eat soon, investigate/google how to freeze it. Then use it later.
6. Eat down what you have.
7. Create a main meal menu plan for the week ahead. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even need to be able to cook. Your meal plan could just say baked potatoes and beans, fish fingers, oven chips and salad, or eggs on toast, just so you have an idea of what you’re going to eat.
8. Plan your lunches, breakfast and snacks. Breakfast here is always toast or cereals, snacks are apples or bananas, lunches are sandwiches, soup, or reheated leftovers. One standard size box of cornflakes feeds both of us breakfast for a week.
9. When you shop, you’ll also need to buy cleaning products and toiletries, so before you create a list, stock take everything you have.
10. Now you’re ready to create a list. Remember to take it with you and stick to it. A bargain is no use to you if it’s not on the list.
All of that seems like a massive task but anything you do for the first time is often really difficult. This gets easier as you don’t have a stock of food you’re not going to eat, you’ll know what you have and you’ll have menu plans for the week ahead. Give yourself a break now and then by batch cooking and having food in the freezer for the nights you don’t want to cook. Another time saver is to plan a ‘student food’ night and relive your youth with scrambled eggs or beans on toast or a plain old bacon or sausage sandwich. Of course, home cooking is far more fun but don’t beat yourself up if you’re just not a cook.
It’s easy to think, we don’t have time or planning is too much bother but it will save time and money in the long run.
Love Froogs xxxx