How to Make the Most of the Food in Your Cupboards

Four tins of chopped tomatoes, two tins of chopped tomatoes with a hint of basil, three tins of chickpeas, a packet of microwaveable rice. Oh, and chocolates your granny gave you at Christmas that were past their sell by date then. And a jar of capers, next to a bottle of Lea & Perrins, which you only bought for when your father-in-law came to stay, as he likes it with his cheese on toast. Phew!

If that list sounds familiar and likely to be found at the back of your kitchen cupboard, fear not…you are not alone!

Over the past decade, our eating habits have changed dramatically. Not only has what we eat changed, but when we eat and how we shop for it has also changed and continues to do so at an alarming rate.

Which leaves many of us in a predicament…what to do with the random items at the back of the kitchen cupboard?

Prevention is Better Than the Cure

Granny’s chocolate might be out of date but her words of wisdom still ring true when it comes to applying a few easy to live by guidelines to making the most of what’s in your kitchen cupboards and to stop the clutter of tins and jars from piling up.

Firstly, try, before you pop to the shops to have a look and see what you have in stock. It’s so easy to forget what’s already there, and when on impulse you decide to make lasagne for tea and end up with another tin of chopped tomatoes to add to your collection you’ll wish you’d taken two minutes to double check before buying another tin. An easy way to do this is to take a quick snap on your mobile phone and then you can reference it whilst out shopping, meaning you won’t buy what you already have – saving time and money!

Another bonus of checking what you already have before shopping is you can try and plan your meals around what’s already at home. If those pesky chickpeas keep winking at you, get online and have a look for a delicious recipe where you can use them up. This way not only are you trying something new but you also get to make space and use things up before they’re past their best.

Bored of the same thing every night?

Another easy win for making the most of what’s in your cupboards and a way of winning the ‘what’s for tea tonight?’ battle, is to head to the shops after work, mindful of what you have at home and see if there’s anything in the reduced aisle that you can pair up with what’s already in the cupboard.

A reduced piece of fish or pack of vegetables would go great with the microwaveable rice. Add in a splash of the Lea & Perrins and you’ve a tasty easy dinner that hasn’t cost you a lot and used up some of what you already had.

Give a Little Back

There is no shame in admitting ‘I have too much’ – and if you have too many tins, jars, packets, bottles etc there are plenty of ways you can reduce your stock and help someone else.

By giving what you don’t need or want to a food bank organisation like the Trussel Trust, not only can you clear some space at home but you can also ease the strain for someone else. Food banks welcome donations of all sorts of goods, as long as they’re in date and edible or still useable.

You’re Back on Track

So now you’ve cleaned out your cupboards and things are looking a bit more organised but how can you make sure not to slip back into old habits?

Rotating what’s in your cupboards can be a good way to keep up to date and make sure items are being used. Bringing old products to the front of your cupboards keeps them at the front of your mind, if you can see them you’re more likely to think of using them and before you know it they’ll be gone having been enjoyed by you.

Meal planning and being conscious to think ahead when you’re out shopping is another way to keep control of your kitchen cupboards. Planning meals and sticking to a list when out shopping means your less likely to fill up on things you’ll only use once or maybe only a little of.

Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of what’s in your kitchen cupboards and with spring just around the corner you’ll be ship-shape and ready to bring in the new season with clean shelves and fresh ideas as to what to keep at home.

Until next time…