IS there a solution to prevent food wastage at home? I think there is a lot we can all do and I believe it helps to be on top of my planning, by writing myself notes, keeping a diary and using my smartphone for reminder. The food lists are endless! 

We have three types of diets in our household; vegetarian, pescatarian and a meat eater, meaning that catering whilst avoiding being wasteful is quite a challenge.  Now, do not get me wrong, I definitely do not cook three types of meals - this was always the case whilst bringing up my children, I had to learn to adapt recipes to make them work in more than one scenario. 

Since losing my job prior to the pandemic, I have had to become very conscious of how I spend my pennies and make sure that not only can I get the best value for my spend, but also that every ounce of food is enjoyed and I am not sacrificing quality in my cooking.  

I tend to shop at the same supermarkets every seven to 10 days, however I recently discovered some good comparison websites which have proved to be useful for the more costly items, or which support local small business who are sometimes are a lot cheaper than the major retailers.

My pre-shopping trip will begin with a shopping list, checking what I have in stock and that I can make use of by adding other ingredients to.   In order to create a weekly menu, I spend time scouting the internet and magazines for any inspiration  you'd be amazed how many things you can find that you've not thought of yourself.  Also, keep an eye on what you find you are regularly throwing out and make a conscious effort to buy less of it rather than falling for "BOGOFF" or "three for two" type offers, when in the long run these excess buys simply become a part of your weekly waste  almost by default.

In my early married years I worked in a small shop and we knew that not everything would fly off the shelf at one time, so we were careful with how we placed items to make sure the oldest stock was bought first and this has stuck with me as a principal "first in, first out". 

Instead of just dumping my shopping at the front of the cupboard shelf I try to arrange the ones with closest expiry date at the front and put newer items behind it definitely helps me cut back on waste. However, being human, the organisation skills do break down now and again and I find myself having to do the odd cupboard "blitz"!

How do you avoid potential food waste in practical terms? The main thing is to use your judgement with manufacturer's labels, as with much fresh produce it's mainly a case of using your common sense to decide whether it needs to be thrown out. The use by and sell by dates are within reason generally more of a guide as to the shelf life of the product and bear in mind that, if things are approaching their use-by date, you can freeze a lot of things and add at least a month to their useful life.  I freeze all my spices, in an ice cube tray, including herbs in butter or stock and things like berries in water for smoothies.  Buying frozen vegetables is another way of resourceful buying  they stay fresh and you can use a little at a time.  

I have children that live away, so any extra prepared food that can be utilised by taking it away upon visits, that is if I haven't packed it for lunch or labelled it as "fridge fresh" and ready to be eaten within a couple of days.  

Pre-lockdown, Sunday was always a day spent preparing meals for the week ahead, but being at home all the time during lockdown I find I've lost this focus on having a specific day when things had to get done.  It's a good habit I must try to get back into as preparing weekly meals is a great way to budget, plan and avoid waste. I often make soups and delicious broths from leftovers  it's really just a case of sauté,simmer, blend and season  then label and freeze.

Cutting down on food waste is good for the planet and your finances, so my top tip would be to think carefully about what you're buying and have a plan for it.  And a final thought is that many smaller retailers sell what the big supermarkets call "wonky food", but which comes without the big supermarkets' "perfect produce" price, and that's another whole story - it tastes all the same, doesn't it?

This is a meal I have cooked this week. All the ingredients I have pulled  out of  the freezer. Frozen vegetables I always keep for a rainy day, plus only take what I need! Of late I found some wonderful frozen fish, in this case tilapia. The fish is wrapped individually in a large pack. The beauty of this is that with a few extra minutes of cooking time it can be steamed, grilled , baked or poached  straight out the freezer. 

The tilapia is sweet, fresh, and not very fishy at all, also a great source of low fat protein. Hence accompanied by slightly spicy vegetables. All in all,  a great money saving no waste meal! 

Prep and cook 30 minutes Serves two. 


Frozen Tilapia (two fillets) 

Frozen broccoli florets 

Frozen peas 

1/2 table spoon juice of lemon 

1 teaspoon rapeseed oil 

2 teaspoons ginger, grated 

1 teaspoon green chilli, minced 

1 teaspoon coriander powder 

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 

Salt to taste 

Crushed black pepper 


In a small pan heat the teaspoon of oil and throw in the frozen broccoli, peas, spices and season.

Mix well, close the lid and let the broccoli and peas cook until defrosted  juices reduced and hot.

In a heated shallow pan, add the lemon juice, rinse the fish in cold water, place the in the pan, season , close the lid. The fish will steam cook in  5-7 minutes on a medium heat. (Turning after 3 minutes)

Serve with sweet potato mash.