Is a picnic in the park really a cheap day out? The sun comes out and we find ourselves rounding the troupe up for free days out with the kids, but of course we stop on the way to buy a “few bits and pieces” for lunch. The cost of this food can really add up – but even then we find ourselves throwing some away at the end of the day.
The average household wastes approximately 160kg of good food from our homes every single year – the same as throwing away over 10% of all the food and drink we buy. And throwing away good food and drink is costing families up to £680 every single year.
This wasted money doesn’t even include the food and drink we buy and then throw away for days out with the kids, so here are ten top tips for saving money when feeding the family on your next day out:
1. Use BOGOFs
Take advantage of BOGOFs on things like quiches, which can be frozen. When you get them home, portion them up into slices in freezer tubs or bags and pop them in the freezer – this makes them quicker to defrost when you are ready for the next days out with the kids.
2. Quiche your leftovers
More of a home cook than a ready meal person? When you have eggs which are near their best before date make a quiche, and add in all of your leftover bits and pieces. Portion up and freeze as above.
3. Freeze leftover pasta
Next time you cook a pasta dish for tea, rather than throwing the leftovers away save some and freeze it for your picnic – simply defrost under boiling water. If it’s plain pasta without a sauce add mayonnaise, sweetcorn and any leftover salad for a delicious deli salad.
4. Sunday roast sandwiches
Use leftover meat from your Sunday roast to make up sandwiches for the family and then freeze. Yes, you really can freeze sandwiches! Then as you leave the house pop them in your picnic bag and they should be defrosted by lunchtime!
5. Quick sausage bites
When cooking sausages for tea, if any aren’t eaten cool them quickly, cut in half and freeze in a plastic container – simply defrost and add to the picnic basket. Don’t forget, the freezer is your friend!
6. Squash for drinks…
Make up a big bottle of squash for everyone and take cups rather than paying for costly drinks when on your days out with the kids.
7. … Or homemade lemonade
Make homemade lemonade. Spare lemons squeezed, combined with sugar and sparkling water make a refreshing lemonade. Freeze in a plastic bottle (remember to only fill up to ¾ full as it will expand).
8. Spare veg dips
Why not chop up some spare veg from your salad drawer into little crudités for dunking into hummus or your favourite dip?
9. Apple salad
Every year millions of apples are thrown away. Why not peel, core and slice any that look tired and have them with some salad leaves, a wedge of cheese, some slices of ham and a spoonful of pickle?
10. Keep it cool
Whether it’s a BBQ or a picnic, food in outdoor summer conditions can pose health risks if not stored properly. Make sure to keep high risk items such as meat and foods containing mayonnaise cool, and only take out what you need at a time. Don’t keep food out more than two hours, and keep it out of direct sunlight. If going on a picnic, leave food in the fridge until you’re ready to head out.
Looking for inspiration for cheap, easy meals to cook at home? Take a look at these ideas for easy family meals from scratch, things to do with leftover chicken, and how to make the most of your meat.
Emma Marsh heads up Love Food Hate Waste, which aims to raise awareness of the issue of food waste and offer simple everyday tips and support to help consumers save money and waste less. Emma is also a keen grower of fruit and veg in her garden and allotment at home.