The food shop is one part of our routines where there are opportunities to save money and be mindful of our environmental impact.
Following simple habits can help take the stress out of shopping. Starting with a shopping list of items which you need and ticking off items as you go, this prevents unplanned purchases. Setting your budget before you go into the store can provide guidance, alongside using the scanning tools to keep track of your food bill as you go. Utilising a meal plan or guide can help you plan out what ingredients you need for the week ahead. Using the loyalty card and coupon schemes in supermarkets could be a tool in saving money over time.
Ensuring you store your food correctly can help keep it fresher for longer. This is a good opportunity to check your fridge temperature; It should be below 5 ᵒc and this can help keep your food fresh for three days longer than usual. Storing fruit and vegetables in the fridge can keep them fresher ready for you to use. Utilise your freezer can help give you flexibility with then you use your food.
Be conscious of ‘buy one get one free’ deals or similar, is it a deal that you will utilise, or will the food go to waste? Going to the shops at the end of the day could mean you have access to discount sticker bargains where the food is approaching the date on the label. If you keep an eye on the ‘use by date’ (which is the date up until the food can be consumed, cooked, or processed safely if stored correctly) to ensure your food is safe to eat. The ‘best before’ date is until the food retains specific quality and not related to safety, it will still be safe to eat.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables helps you eat a range of nutrients required for health, this can include frozen, tinned, dried, and fresh foods. In January; apples, pears, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, celeriac, kale, leeks, potatoes, parsnips, swedes, and sweet potatoes are in season in the UK. EUFIC’s seasonal fruit and vegetable map can be a good tool to explore seasonal fruits in countries across Europe.
Using every part of your food can help you get all the nourishment out of your food and reduce waste. Keeping peel and skin on your vegetables or saving peelings for homemade veg stock. Planning meals, storing leftovers, and serving the right portion sizes can help manage what we’re using.
Further resources that are useful for managing food waste and safety and recipe ideas can be found at ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ from WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme) charity. These resources and tips can only be utilised as tools in your day-to-day routines, but we must see serious adjustments in the food system to better equality and accessibility of food resources across the nation and globe. Putting pressure on governments to do this. See past articles that I’ve written to see further reasonings on why.
Francesca Vuolo is a registered associate nutritionist with a BSc (Hons) Nutrition and MSc in Nutrition and Behaviour. Her interests range from nutritional psychiatry, physical activity, nature, public health, and farming, which complement her work. You can find out more on Instagram @flourishwithfran.
Follow Fran on Twitter @FV_Nutrition.
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