10 Ways to make your food go further
With rising prices and food shortages, you are looking for ways to make your food go further. The grocery bill is rising but your income is the same. You need to think smarter about your food.
Work out where you are wasting food
Get a notebook and carry out an audit. Think back to how much and what foods you throw out each week because –
- They went out of date
- Rotten or moldy
- Got buried at the back of the fridge
- No one liked them
- You bought too much of the perishable food and didn’t freeze or preserve it
Create a plan
After conducting an audit, you can create a plan to make your food go further next time. Take a look in the fridge and pantry. Check for foods –
- Getting near their expiry date
- You have a large quantity of and need to use
Make a list of what you have and come up with a plan for the week. This will reduce the grocery bill as you buy what you need. Once you are in the shops if an item is too expensive you can always substitute it for a cheaper food on special.
Redesign the leftovers
You have last night’s leftovers in the fridge. There isn’t enough to feed everyone but you can use it as a base for tonight’s dinner.
By adding more to the meal or adding the leftovers to something else you can have enough food for everyone.
Changing the meal makes food less boring and saves you from throwing it out in a couple of days when it goes bad.
Your choices will depend on what the leftovers dish is –
- Add more vegetables, pasta, noodles, rice or similar foods
- Use the leftovers to create pies, toasted sandwiches, pasties
- Water down or puree the foods to make soup
- Use as an ingredient in tacos, enchiladas, baked meal
Don’t waste food scraps
Vegetable peels, stems, skins and the like can be used in cooking as long as they are clean and fresh. If you don’t have enough scraps, you could freeze them till you have enough to include in a dish.
- Create a stock or soup base
- Roast skins such as pumpkin and potato skins
- Use all the edible parts of the vegetable (secondary edibles) to flavour and increase food bulk
Scraps can also be given to the chickens to save feed costs and create nutritious eggs.
Disguise the scraps
Most people won’t know if you left the skin on the carrots when you make a casserole. You can also make it a feature of the meal such as baked potato skins with dip or sour cream.
- Zucchinis can be grated with the skin on and added to quiche
- Broccoli stems can be sliced or cubed and mixed with vegetables in dishes
- Cauliflower stems can be used as above and are becoming popular as fake rice
- Onion skins can be added to dishes for added flavour and removed before eating
- Use scraps to make stocks and purees, fibrous bits that don’t blend can be strained out
- Roast meat leftovers can be moistened in gravy for the next meal
- Pizza, a range of off-cut meats and vegetables can be added to pizza
Bulk out the meal
When planning your meal, have a variety of foods. Meat among other foods is expensive, use the required amount of the expensive foods and bulk the rest of the meal out with cheaper vegetables, pasta, rice, noodles, bread, legumes and the like.
The cheaper foods make your food go further without breaking the budget. Having a variety of foods ensures you get a balance of nutrients in your diet.
Reduce the serving size
With weight gain being a problem in some parts of the population we could slightly reduce our food intake without any problems.
Cutting back on serving size makes the food go further and the extra spoonful per serving can be saved for the leftovers for tomorrow.
- Change the plate size or shape so you and your family don’t notice the reduced amount of food
- Gradually reduce the amount, half a spoonful, one spoonful
- Don’t give picky eats a big meal, if they are going to turn away after one pea. If they are hungry, they will eat it.
- Reduce snack sizes and number, people grazing all day can create a large shopping bill
If they are still hungry, they can go back for a smaller second serving. But by reducing the first serving you are less likely to have uneaten food being thrown away.
Any food that is thrown away could go to the dog or chickens depending on what the scraps are.
Remove the distractions at dinner
One way you can make your food go further is to eat slower. With smaller serving sizes and everyone eating the meal slower there is time for their brain to register they are full.
Being distracted and scoffing down a large meal while watching TV ends with you feeling over full. Overeating is wasting food you could have had tomorrow.
This might create a problem with the tech generation. If it is easier, just give them less food, they probably won’t even notice.
Bring back the cutlery
To slow down the eating process we need to remove the convenient grab with one hand and shove it in your face reality. Foods like pies, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, junk foods and the like are designed to be eaten quickly with little effort.
Creating the meal around having to cut up meats and pick up smaller chunks of food will slow people down a bit.
Grow your food at home
Whether you have a whole vegetable garden or a few vegetables in containers you will be saving some money on the grocery bill. And you will have some vegetables to supplement the meal with the food shortages in the shop. Who wants to buy a $12 lettuce when you can grow your own for a few cents?
Network in the community
You may have grown extra food or accidentally bought something you don’t like. Develop a community network where you can swap foods to create a balanced diet.
With some planning, rethinking food waste, serving sizes and lifestyle behaviors around food you can make your food go further.
If you are not up on how to grow vegetables in containers you can enroll in my online short course on growing Vegetables in Pots.
Food Security Update
FAO official warns some countries will definitely face food shortages