Since the pandemic hit, food shopping has become somewhat of a competitive sport. Granted, it’s calmed down over the past few weeks, but it’s still a daunting task. The idea of empty shelves and people frantically grabbing canned goods from shelves is enough to make my skin crawl. Especially now that I’m isolating alone, I’m trying my best to avoid food waste and make what I buy last as long as possible.
I understand this is easier said than done, so I’m going to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learnt.
Obviously when this all kicked off, everyone was buying the long life goods. There wasn’t a shred of pasta or canned beans in sight on my first Morrisons trip. But I quickly discovered that they’re not all that important for your lockdown shopping list. Yes, they’re a great source of nutrition and are generally super cheap, but they’re not a necessity for your average meal.
If you weren’t already eating a shit tonne of beans and pulses pre-lockdown, why would you be during lockdown? I aim to pick up 1-2 canned goods on my weekly shop. This ensures I’m well stocked should I need some at short notice, but also means my cupboard isn’t overflowing with a variety of beans.
While it may be tempting to pile your trolley high with supermarket stock, it’s neither sustainable or practical. The amount of food waste that was left piling up in people’s bins just days after the first wave of panic buyers was, frankly, disgusting.
Buy within your means, and buy what you know you’ll use. Check use by dates, and figure out if it’s something you could perhaps pick up in next weeks shop instead. By hoarding resources you’re not helping others, or yourself even. Because who’s going to use five loaves of bread in a week? Nobody.
I personally don’t write myself a list when I’m shopping. My method is more of a “buy what I can see” approach. But as I’m going round, I’m constantly thinking of what I could pair with what’s already in my basket. Before something makes it’s way off the shelf and into my hand, I question if I’ll use it.
So that means no more avocados for me. Why? I buy them because my “ideal self” wants them. My ideal self wakes up at 6am, practices yoga and has avocado smash for breakfast with wholegrain toast and a poached egg. In reality, Elen Mai wakes up at 10am (if she’s lucky) and munches on a plain toasted bagel. Maybe some muesli if she’s feeling adventurous.
But what does that mean for the avocados when “real life” Elen buys them? They go off and end up in the bin. So she no longer buys them in the hopes she’ll magically become the 6am yoga practicing, avocado smash eating girl of her dreams.
This is something I’ve been doing a LOT of during lockdown. You might have seen me talking about it over on my Instagram stories, I love it. Especially if I’ve got fresh ingredients that need to be used within a couple of days. Recently, I had a huge bag of spinach that was fast approaching it’s use by date, so I chucked it all in a big curry and froze three portions of it to eat over the week.
When I batch cook meals, it’s generally a curry or a chilli type of dish. There’s no official recipe or set ingredient list, it’s literally made up of whatever I have in my cupboards or fridge. And you know what? It tastes absolutely bloody incredible, if I do say so myself. Plus it’s super simple, a real win-win situation.
There’s a whole multitude off things you can make with ingredients that need using up. Whip those bananas up into a banana bread, use leftover fruit to make homemade jam! The whole country seems to have become one big episode of Bake Off as it is, why not get involved?
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.