Stretch food by cutting it up, like the potatoes that have been cubed in this picture

Find out how 11 UK Money Bloggers stretch food between shops

I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid the shops as much as possible at the moment. To try and help with that, last week I did the #StretchMealPlan Challenge to #MakeLockdownFoodLast in the Reduce Your Food Waste Facebook Group. The idea was that at the end of the challenge people would have a meal plan to stretch their food out as much as possible.

Sustainable gift wrap course

The challenge is over now. However if you want some more ideas for how to stretch your food, check out how these UK Money Bloggers do it (plus a tip from me).

How do you stretch food out to make it go further?

Cut it up!

One of my favourite ways to use less food, is to cut things up into small pieces. One small potato wouldn’t seem very much on it’s own as a side. But if you cut it up into small cubes and bake or fry them, it looks like a bigger portion. Chop one or two small veggie cocktail sausage into a bowl of pasta and it seems like there is plenty. Compare that to just putting one or two sausages in the bowl with the pasta, which doesn’t seem like much.

Another bonus tip I have to make good use of your crumbs!

Make the most of your freezer

I freeze most things if they stay still long enough. Bread, meat, fish, veg, grated cheese and chopped up herbs frozen with water in ice cube trays. Frozen fruit is handy for smoothies and overnight oats, when it’s tricky to get fresh. If I make vats of soup to use up tired veg, or a massive bolognese, I’ll freeze portions as home-made ready meals for any time I’m too tired to cook. – Faith from Much More with Less

Stretch food, by saving scraps for soup

Instead of throwing away small leftovers and clean peelings of veg, pop them into a large tub in the freezer. Keep filling with oddments until you have enough to make a vegetable soup. Serve the soup as a meal and don’t forget to freeze any leftovers. – Money Saving Central

Check dates and rotate food

Make sure you check the dates while you’re putting things away and rotate so the closest dates are at the front of your fridge/cupboards to get used first. (The first in first out/FIFO system) – Miss Many Pennies

Write a meal plan to stretch food out

My tip is to try and meal plan through the week – think about what you might like then only buy groceries to those particular recipes – it simply makes you likely to waste less. Dan from The Financial Wilderness

Use up your leftover bread

Bread products and bread ends that the kids usually dont like, make a lovely bread pudding. Also you can set cooking challenges for dinner times where family members do a ready steady cook type challenge and then Come Dine With Me.

Bread is one of the most wasted items and this post has masses of ideas on how to use up bread. Lesley – Thrifty Lesley

Turn brown bananas into milkshake

Never throw away browning bananas! Peel them and freeze the bananas. Blended with your favourite type of milk they make instant and delicious frozen milkshakes in seconds. Add strawberries or a scoop of chocolate powder to add more flavour! Victoria – Lylia Rose

Use online tools to find recipes for random foods

If you can’t work out what to eat with the random foods in your kitchen, use a tool like SuperCook which finds recipes based on what’s you’ve got. Naomi – Skint Dad

Colour code foods to remember use by dates

My tip is to colour-code food in the fridge and in cupboard with coloured labels (can use ribbons or colour a piece of paper and stick it to the package). E.g Red=food that goes off by end of week 1; blue=food that goes off by end of week 2, etc. I did this for a lady with dementia and it worked really well. Jennifer –

Shop your cupboards. Freeze foods that won’t last, or use them up.

The main thing to do usually is to shop your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Make a meal plan using what you have and only buy anything you need that you don’t already have in. If you have extras in, the priority would be to keep it useable until you are ready to eat it.

Meat and meat products can all be frozen. As can most other things. Fresh potatoes can be turned into mash and frozen, or have a few lunches of baked potatoes to use them up. Onions can be chopped and frozen. Prepare carrots and freeze them ready to be used in soup and casseroles. Similarly peppers.

No room left in the freezer? Look at what needs using up first and meal plan around that. Any tasty mix can be made into a soup, used as the base of a savoury crumble, used as a pie filling or used as pizza topping.

Lesley – Thrifty Lesley

Share what you can’t use

I think it is so important to share – before you EVER throw food away consider if you could leave it on a neighbours doorstep (safely of course). Becky – Baby Budgeting

Still want more ideas to stretch food?

Have a look at my big round up of ways to use up food here – a challenge to avoid food waste for a day and a round up of use it up ideas.