Make your shopping list
Make your shopping listMake a shopping list, take it to the shops and stick to it. A list will help you to avoid impulse buying or stocking up on more food than you'll use.
- Work out how many people will be eating each meal
- Check which ingredients you have and which you need to buy
- Aim to buy what you need – if you only need a few carrots get some loose ones rather than a giant bag
- Work out how much you need if you plan to batch cook and freeze extra meals for another week
- Put lemon and herbs on your list for perking up most dishes including leftovers – dry or freeze fresh herbs you can't use up in time, and use old lemons for cleaning your home
Check the fridge and freezer
Check the fridge and freezerSee what's in your fridge and freezer that needs to be used up. Label and date the homemade food and leftovers you freeze to enjoy it at its best.
- Use up the food you freeze within three months to enjoy it while it's still at its best – label and date homemade foods so you know when you made them
- Try to use what you have in the freezer before buying more of the same
- Freeze fresh foods that are about to go off, then see how much freezer room you have for new purchases
- Decide in advance whether to take advantage of multi-buy offers – is there enough space to freeze the extra items too?
Look in your cupboards
Look in your cupboardsFind out what's hiding in your cupboards before you shop so you don't duplicate what you already have.
- Always check cupboards before you shop – you may have what you need already
- Try this recipe finder to search for ways to use up different ingredients
- Rotate older items to the front of the cupboard so you use them first
- 'Best before' refers to food quality; 'use by' is about food safety
- Keep items where you can easily see them and use them
Plan your meals
Plan your mealsWrite a meal plan for the week so you buy only what you need. Looking ahead can help you make the most of leftovers and save you time and money.
- Try to plan your meals for the whole week
- Think about snacks and lunchboxes as well as main meals
- Work out where using up leftovers instead of cooking more fits in as well as not cooking at all because you're eating out
- Make double quantities to use up fresh foods and freeze the extra portions
- Use up fresh vegetables before they go off by making a casserole or soup
- Leftovers can make quick and tasty packed lunches