Keep food fresh, reduce waste and save in the kitchen

With a few simple tips on rethinking how you cook and store food at home, you can start saving time, energy and dollars sooner than you think.

Your Home
10 min read
When you’re trying to keep supermarket trips to a minimum, managing what you buy matters. With a few simple shopping and storage tricks, you’ll be running a smarter, safer kitchen – and saving money doing it.

A big part of cooking great meals comes down to planning ahead. By thinking about everything you need, from the supermarket to serving up, you’ll make life simpler and more satisfying.

To keep an efficient kitchen, it pays to consider three things – savings, storage and wastage. Here are some simple ideas to create a plan that works for you.

Saving at the supermarket

Running an efficient pantry starts with what you put in your shopping trolley, either in-store or online.

Go in with a plan

Before leaving the house or logging on, start by making a meal plan for the week ahead. Think about what you’ll cook and when, and the ingredients you’ll need. It’s also worth checking you have the staples you use regularly – they’re always handy for making a meal in a pinch.

Take a shopping list

‘How did all those extras sneak into my trolley?’ It seems obvious, however, making and sticking to a list is the simplest way to avoid buying things you won’t use. Buying just what you need leads to more efficient use of kitchen space, less waste, and more money in your pocket.

Young woman sitting on stairs on ipad

Know your budget

Setting a budget is a great way to shop smarter. We all love certain premium items, but there’s often a more affordable version nearby that works just as well. You can still pick up something fancy – just know where quality matters most to you, and where you’d rather save a few dollars.

Be careful around discounts

‘Two for one’ sounds attractive but often means you’ll just be spending and wasting more. Consider if you’ll actually use things, and how much, to avoid throwing away food and money.

Keeping food fresh

When you’re keeping shopping trips to a minimum, make sure what you bring home stays fresh and useful for as long as possible.

Jars

Prep as soon as you’re home

After putting down your bags, unpack and get rid of any unnecessary packaging to reduce clutter – produce, for example, can usually go straight into your fridge’s crisper. Resealable and airtight containers are great space savers, on top of keeping your food tasty and fresh.

Keep it visible and organised

Organise your cupboard and fridge so you can see and reach everything easily – and can check when you’ll need to buy more. Even using see-through containers instead of opaque ones means finding things faster and knowing what should be used.

Understand expiration dates

Mid-week, check what should be used soon and adjust your meal plan accordingly. Knowing how use-by and expiration dates work can save you throwing away perfectly good food. Just make sure to always check whether it looks, smells, or tastes okay.

Vegetables including carrots and chillies in bowls

Grow your own

Recipes often only call for small portions of herbs – so why not grow your own? Herb gardens can take minimal space and maintenance, and make a great project for you and the family. Top tip, start keeping your coffee grounds – these make a great fertiliser for a fledgling garden.

Cutting down on waste

Managing what’s in your cupboard to minimise what you throw away, helps the environment and your budget.

Avoid serving too much

When plating up, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs. Keeping portions to what you and your family will finish means less in the bin after and more leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow.

Make the most of leftovers and ingredients

It’s easy to forget the leftovers from two nights ago, or those spare carrots at the back of the fridge. Keep an eye on what’s in your fridge or pantry and, rather than toss them out, think how to use what you already have before heading to the supermarket.

salmon and salad in a takeaway container

Keep plastic waste to a minimum

While it’s difficult to avoid all plastic packaging, you can play it smart. With a good wash, many ‘single-use’ plastics are resealable and reusable – which means buying and throwing away less.

Start composting

Like plastics, try to avoid throwing away food scraps. Why not turn them into something useful? Starting a basic compost bin is simple, and even if you don’t have a garden to nurture, someone nearby definitely will.

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