There is no denying that the grocery bill is one of the biggest costs facing families.
Love Food Hate Waste NZ has shared tips on storing perishables to keep them fresher for longer such as keeping potatoes away from onions (who knew?) and keeping cucumbers in the plastic wrap to stop them drying out.
They’ve stressed the importance of detailed meal planning before you shop but warns against buying in bulk, saying stocked up food often spoils or is forgotten about.
Spokeswoman Sarah Pritchett said lack of planning and not storing food correctly were the most common reasons for food waste.
Instead of the usual advice of buying in bulk to save money, Pritchett said buying for the week and storing perishables properly was key. Airtight containers in the fridge helped keep food fresh and stopped cross-contamination.
Here are some helpful tips for saving at the till:
Clean out your fridge and cupboards before you head out and make a list. It’s money down the drain to buy a bag of carrots and then find you had some at home!
Stretch out your shopping
Try to make a tasty meal with what you have in the fridge or freezer. Apps such as Food in my Fridge can help.
Buy in season
Cauliflower $14 a head? Yikes. Put it back and find an alternative. In season local produce tastes better – and is usually cheaper.
Put something back
If you know you are over budget look in the trolley and put back items you know you can do without that week.
Consider home delivery or meal plans
If the budget allows, check out home delivery and meal kits. They reduce waste and are good for those who struggle with meal planning. Shopping online stops the random purchase of five chocolate bars at the checkout.
Storage is king
Invest in good storage so leftovers can be stored, heated easily, or taken as lunch the next day. A good lunch box means fruit can be chopped and shared and bigger bags of snacks can be divided. Here’s a guide to lunchboxes if you aren’t quiet sure which one to get.
Cook once, eat twice
A big batch of mince can be used for spaghetti one night and eaten in burritos the next – yum.
Have a theme night
Try setting up a weekly theme night! It might be meat-free Mondays, Taco Tuesdays or Fish Friday. This will put some structure into your weekly meals and make it easier to plan those meals, and get the kids excited too.
Have a Plan B
Always have a backup in the freezer. A bag or two of dumplings or frozen fish and chips means a quick and easy meal so you can still feed your family without a trip to the supermarket.
Love Food Hate Waste has an online meal planner called Easy Choice Family Kai which provides recipes and shopping lists for five family-friendly meals for under $100, which you can get here.
This article was originally published on the NZ Herald and has been republished here with permission and edits.