How to Avoid Food Waste in Lockdown

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.

Read more; Is Lockdown Making Us More Resourceful?

Supermarket Fruit Aisle

Canned goods are handy, but not essential.

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.

Hoarding food is NOT the answer.

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.

Avocados & Veg Food Waste

Set yourself a realistic shopping goal.

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.

Food Waste Ingredient Spread

Batch cooking is your best friend.

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.

Get creative!

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?

Read more; Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials with Net Zero Company | Gifted
Have you got any tips and tricks for avoiding food waste in lockdown? Feel free to share them below!

14 comments so far.

14 responses to “How to Avoid Food Waste in Lockdown”

  1. Kayleigh Zara says:

    I need to get better with buying realistic amounts of food as I always seem to buy too much! Thankyou for sharing x

  2. I would avoid food waste at any time but we
    have a garden so it’s easier. Thanks for the tips..

    • Oh absolutely! I think it’s just become more prevalent since lockdown as a lot of us are trying to minimise trips and waste in general. Thanks for reading!
      El xx

  3. Charity says:

    These are all such great tips! I hate wasting food so this is a perfect post for me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kelly Diane says:

    This was such a great post to read. I’ve been making a conscious effort to not waste food either and have been batch cooking and saving leftovers as much as possible. It’s also been saving me a lot of money too.

  5. Good tips! My boyfriend and I try really hard to reduce the amount of food waste we have over lockdown but there is always half a bag of kale or some lettuce that goes off before we can get to it!

    • Yeah there’s always a couple of things that you miss and it’s totally fine! We can’t be on top of everything all at once. Thanks so much for reading!
      El xx

  6. Faye says:

    Great tips! I feel like you can make absolutely everything into a curry. That was always my go-to when I had leftover veg in uni! Soup is another good one to make using leftovers.x

  7. Lindsey says:

    I honestly didn’t change the way that i buy food during this quarantine period. I may have even had to purchase MORE food because I wasn’t buying lunch everyday at work. Great advice!

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Hi there!

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.

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