Do you find yourself wasting food at home? It could be that you simply buy too much, don’t really plan your meals or you could store your food differently to make it last longer.
Our friends at Love Food Hate Waste Scotland have recently teamed up with Lidl GB to launch four weekly shopping lists and meal plans designed to reduce household food waste.
Mum of two, Catherine, in our communications team tried out week three of the 'Great Taste, No Waste' shopping list and shares how her family got on…
I hate wasting food. As much as I try not to sometimes life gets in the way and my food caddy sees once perfectly fresh veggies or fruit going to waste. Usually because we bought too much at the supermarket and didn’t use it up on time, or my youngest decides that despite liking broccoli last week, this week it "tastes yuck”.
On the brighter side, like lots of people during lockdown, we’ve definitely been wasting less food and started planning our meals more which has been great. But it does seem like we’re spending a small fortune every time to we go the shops.
Juggling the roles of being parents, teachers, homeworkers and carers whilst keeping the house running and everyone happy (and my sanity intact) has been such a challenge. Does this sound like your house too?
Enter a “Lidl” list magic
When I heard about a new food waste-free shopping list and meal plan which would not only feed my family of four with zero food wasted, but it would also only cost £40 for the week I was like sign me up!
I was already following Love Food Hate Waste Scotland on social media for recipe inspo and thought it would be good to try out their new meal plan with Lidl. I am also very aware of how bad food waste is for the planet.
The weekly list from lidl.co.uk/greattastenowaste would tell me exactly what to buy, when to use it and how to cook it with the help of daily meal planners, easy-to-make recipes and daily reminders on what to do for the next day. One less thing to think about and off my ever-increasing to-do list.
Feed a family of four for just £40 a week with food waste-free shopping lists and meal plans. #GreatTasteNoWaste
Off to the shops
Armed with the shopping list, hand gel, face coverings and reusable shopping bags of course, off to Lidl we went. Before leaving the house I checked the kitchen for listed items that I might already have and so didn’t need to buy - saving money, space and waste - and found sweetcorn, frozen peas and penne pasta.
Using the tick list in the shop helped me not to forget anything, and all the items were grouped according to where you would find them in store.
My shop came to under £37 for all the items required. Happy days. Wee word of advice for when you’re doing the shop, remember the list only includes items for meals. If you want to stock up on extra snacks, cleaning essentials and Prosecco as part of your weekly shop, remember to add them to your trolley too!
What’s on the menu?
On the whole, we really enjoyed the experience and the fact it was so cheap was unbelievable. We put it to a family vote and the all-round winning dish for us was the spaghetti bolognese, a new recipe for an old favourite.
Other highlights from the menu plan included:
- The boys loved the “making their own pizza party” and were amazed that you could make pizza dough from Greek yoghurt and flour. We added some leftover veggies and olives as extra toppings.
- The Thai red curry was delicious and mild enough that the boys could eat it. It could even be enjoyed again blitzed into a soup.
- The chicken and leek pie we had on the Monday took a bit longer to make than we would normally spend cooking mid-week but it was worth it.
- Other enjoyable dishes included chilli con carne, chicken pasta and what has become now a regular breakfast – scotch pancakes. My youngest does eat like a sparrow so some of the portions were too big for him, but we froze whatever leftovers we could (or my husband ate his share)
Lunches were quick and easy-to-make and breakfast was based around what we would usually have – toast and cereals. The strawberry jam was a big winner.
If the portions are too big for your little ones, freeze any leftovers so they can be enjoyed another time. #GreatTasteNoWaste
New food habits fostered
I found myself doing things a bit differently than I would normally, such as freezing my bread in half-loaves to make it last the week (and saving me from going to the shops and spending more money).
We'd make multiple meals from one dish or ingredient thanks to planning in advance and absolutely everything I'd bought was used up, except some non-perishable items like rice and pasta which would last for longer and not go to waste anyway.
Since doing Great Taste, No Waste, we’ve picked up some good habits and much to my boys’ delight, we now make fresh pancakes for breakfast at least twice a week. Not something I would have done in the past after trying once and failing miserably.
Making the most of Great Taste, No Waste
Remember to check your fridge and cupboards before venturing to Lidl to avoid buying what you already have.
The lists assume you already have cooking essentials such as butter, cooking oil, condiments and seasoning so these aren’t listed on the shopping list. Worth skimming the recipes before you shop to see if you’re out of any of these basics.
If you don’t have reusable freezer bags, get yourself some while you’re out for freezing half your loaves.
Use Love Food Hate Waste Scotland's A-Z of food storage for guidance on how to store everything to make it last longer.
Get involved on social media by following @LoveFoodHateWasteScotland and using the hashtag #GreatTasteNoWaste.
To download the shopping lists, meal plans and recipes visit lidl.co.uk/greattastenowaste.