Trying to save money, and reduce food waste? Taking stock of what’s in your freezer, fridge and pantry, and using up what you already have before heading to the shops is a good place to start. Here are some of our suggestions on how to reduce food waste by using up what you already have on hand.
- Start by using up food you already have in your freezer, fridge and pantry. Write a list of what you have and put the list in a visible place, like the fridge door. Refer to it when planning your meals. If you have a few items of the same foods, organise them based on expiry date, with those due to expire earlier at the front, so that you use them up first.
Use the list to plan what meals to cook. Challenge yourself to only buy extra ingredients you need for each recipe, until your food inventory starts to decrease.
When you are planning meals, look at ways to swap ingredients in your usual meals, to ingredients you already have on hand. You can find our suggestions for ingredient swaps here.
- Look through our list of meals and inspiration for ideas for using up common ingredients that seem to get lost in the back of the fridge.
- Use the filters on the NMNT Healthy, Easy Recipes page to find recipes for particular foods or ingredients
Still stuck? Here are some more ideas on how to use up those fridge, freezer and pantry ‘finds’:
- Frozen meals - eat them up and take the night off cooking!
Almost past it vegetables - Roast vegetables in the oven with a little olive oil, or use one of our frittata recipes and use the vegetables you have on hand instead
Frozen meat, chicken or fish - defrost in the fridge, and marinate with our Smoky spice rub, Yoghurt, curry and turmeric marinade or our lime, ginger and coriander marinade. Once fully defrosted, cook as is, or add to a stir fry or salad
Leftover curry or stew - turn these into a pie by first defrosting them, placing them in an oven proof dish, top with mashed potato or filo pastry, brush with olive oil and bake in a moderate oven until piping hot and browned on top
Legumes - reduce or replace the meat portion of your currys, stews and bolognese by adding legumes such as chickpeas, lentils or red kidney beans