food waste

Love budget meals, hate food waste.

Cost of Living Crisis.

Whether you are personally affected, or if you are concerned about someone who might be, it is fair to say this is being talked about. Maybe you think the rising costs are just a part of life and you’re okay, but you can still do your bit for food waste!

Food is one of those commodities which is steadily increasing in price. You may have noticed your shopping bill creeping up, or, maybe you realised the pack size has shrunk!?

Counting the pounds by Alaur Rahman on Pexels

Food Waste

In the UK, we are very good at throwing things away! You can search statistics for where you live, but here are some UK food waste stats:

  • The UK throws away 9.5 million tonnes of food waste a year!
  • 900,000 tonnes of this (9.5 million tonnes) is bread… that’s around 24 million slices of bread a DAY!!!
  • 1.4 million bananas are wasted every DAY!
  • 714,000 tonnes of potatoes are wasted, that’s around 4.4 million potatoes per day!
  • 490 million pints of milk are tipped away every year – that’s around 1.34 million pints a day!

sliced bread
Sliced Bread by Magda Ehlers on Pexels

Why are we throwing it away?

There are several reasons why there is so much food waste.

  • Some food is naturally wasted due to spoilage or skins – think orange peel, bruised apples or dried up and hard pastries.
  • By products in production such as fruit flesh when making juice
  • Leftovers – putting too much on your (or your children’s) plates
  • Past its date. Let’s look at this in more detail!


This is one area that we can most definitely improve on!

There are TWO different types of dates on food.

Use By Dates

This is what it says! USE BY! These are dates which you need to take notice of. Generally use by dates are on foods which will be dangerous to eat after their date. Bacteria is likely to start to grow after the use by date – which may be invisible by smell or taste. Use by foods can be frozen before or on their date and safely consumed the day they are defrosted. Use by dates are usually found on freshly prepared foods, including houmous, chopped salads and ready meals. If you are freezing use by foods, write the date frozen on the pack, so you know how many days you have once defrosted. e.g. if the use by date is 5th and you freeze it on 1st, when you defrost it, it will still be okay for 4 more days!

Best Before Dates

Once again, this is what is says! Best before. Note this is a ‘best’ before date. This means, anything with a ‘best before’ date can be eaten anytime you like! With foods with a best before date, the quality may deteriorate after a few days, but the product will still be safe to eat. Companies put a best before date on so you consume their product at it’s freshness, and then buy it again! The food might be less spongy (bread), crunchier than usual (croissants), softer (biscuits) or less juicy (apples). Best before dates are mostly found on tins, packets, frozen food and dried goods. Best before foods include whole fruit and vegetables, cereals, spices, pasta, bread and cakes. Of course, you can freeze foods with best before dates too!

stir fry veg
Using up veg by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels

Let’s talk leftovers!

Leftovers could mean a few things:

  • Leftovers on your plate after eating – Top Tip. Plate up less, taste test first (this goes for children too) and then go back for seconds, thirds or more.
  • Fresh food leftovers after cooking e.g. half an onion, a spoonful of tomato puree, a handful of mushrooms, a quarter of a tin of chickpeas. These can all be stored in the fridge or freezer for use later. Ideally use clear glass containers so a) the foods last longer and b) you can easily see what you have. Most leftovers can be added to other recipes, cooked up for a base recipe, or made into a soup.
  • Cooked meal leftovers. Food which you have made for dinner (or lunch) and not managed to eat can be refrigerated and eaten for a quick and easy lunch (or dinner) the next day. Some foods go great in a sandwich, pitta or wrap, either hot or cold, or on top of a potato, rice or salad. Other foods can be turned into something else! For example, if you made spaghetti bolognese and have leftovers, turn them into lasagne. If you made a curry and have some left, make flatbread curry pizzas. Cooked veg can be added to soups or stews (as can pasta or rice), stir fried with a sauce or roasted with some herbs.

Let me know what leftovers you have and I will help you transform them into something tasty! Go on, challenge me!

food storage
Storing Leftovers by Sarah Chai on Pexels

A few ideas

Here are a few ideas for you to be thinking about… loving your leftovers and reducing food waste.

Garlic Bread

Tomato Ideas

Vegetable Soup

Bolognese Sauce

Fruit Crumble

Useful items

With a few good quality items, you can help your foods (cooked and fresh) last longer. Have a look at these products which you might find really useful. I receive a small commission if you click and purchase through these links (this is at no additional cost to you)!

Where to find more help

There are loads of places to find more help if you need it. If you need help with the cost of living, this website is full of advice personalisable to you. If you want more ideas for what to do with your leftovers, have a look at the Hubbub website for more tips. If you are worried about heating or eating, your local council should be able to offer more help or signpost you to elsewhere.


Please share any money saving tips, leftovers recipes or anything you think could benefit others during this cost of living crisis. I will share some more recipes ideas soon. As always, feel free to share and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterest,  Facebook or Twitter.

Leave me a comment below… I love to chat!

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x

food waste
Fresh foods by Mart Production on Pexels

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