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Coronavirus: How to make food stretch further during lockdown

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 25/03/2020 Sheena McStravick
a group of people sitting at a table with a plate of food: Batch cooking is a great way to make food last longer © getty images Batch cooking is a great way to make food last longer

With the government advising we only leave our homes to shop for essentials during the Coronavirus pandemic, it's more important than ever to make sure we make our food last longer.

From freezing leftovers to serving smaller portion sizes and bulking out dishes with vegetables, families have been offered advice on how to make their food shop last longer.

Penny-pinching gurus from  TheMoneyPig.com  have revealed six ways to help make the food we have in our cupboards last longer than normal.

By taking an inventory of all the food in the cupboards and freezer, families will be able to create meals around the food they have in the house, without needing to buy extra ingredients.

Padding dishes out with cheap vegetables will also help reduce the amount of meat needed, and it’ll also help make more portions whilst bringing the cost down.

A spokesperson from  TheMoneyPig.com  said: “In these difficult times it’s important to make sure that the food you have managed to buy lasts as long as possible, whilst also keeping everyone full.

“That means throwing little to nothing away and adding cheap ingredients to meals like Spaghetti Bolognese or Chilli con Carne to really bulk them out.

"A lot of these suggestions are to do with the way you store food, and ensuring you use up tins with the shortest use by date first.

"Opting for cheaper options of some ingredients will also help keep the price of dishes down, and of course being able to make more portions out of the same dish will help with this too.”

These are six ways The MoneyPig.com have said households can make food go further:

1. Freeze

The amount of foods that you can actually freeze is quite surprising, meaning it’s kept in an edible state for longer. As long as you freeze and defrost the foods safely, they should be able to stay in the freezer for as long as you need them to. Everything from meat and milk to fruit and eggs can be stored in the freezer.

If you have extra portions of dishes, these can also be frozen for a later date instead of being thrown out.

2. Cupboard

Many people will have cupboards and pantries full of old tins which they haven’t used. Try and create meals around the tins with the nearest sell-by dates, as the newer tins will last longer. This also means that you may not need to buy as much food as you may have previously thought.

3. Inventory

Write an inventory of all the food you have in the house. You can then create and make meals with these foods instead of needing to buy ingredients for recipes you would normally eat. As your inventory and list decreases you will also be able to see what food you need to buy when you go shopping. Doing this will also force you to be a bit more creative with the meals you make, pushing you out of your comfort zone by learning new recipes.

4. Vegetables

Using vegetables, beans and pulses to fill out dishes such as Bolognese and other pastas means that the amount of meat needed is reduced. You will get more portions out of the dish which will help reduce costs. It will also be much healthier, helping to reach the goal of 5 fruit and veg a day.

5. Portion control

As easy as it is to assume a chicken breast will feed just one person, weighing the raw weight of ingredients will ensure that everyone is eating adequately without overeating, meaning you can get more meals out of your food.

6. Drink

The more liquid you drink, especially water, the fuller you will feel. Although you should still be eating your main meals, drink lots of water before and during mealtimes, and filling up on water may help keep the snacking at bay, which means these foods can be used in larger meals later on.

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