Shopping and storage

“Love your Lunch”

Let’s do lunch without food waste!

Whether you’re thinking about your working-from-home lunch, packing lunch for the office, or the kids’ lunches for school or maybe you’re planning a more exciting picnic or BBQ lunch at the weekend, we’re here to help you make the most of your mid-day meal, without the food waste.

Our tips won’t just help you reduce food waste, they’ll also help you save time and money so you can stress less and enjoy more this summer.

  • Do you use dinner leftovers for lunch the next day? Only half of the people we surveyed do. Check out these tasty tips to make leftovers into lunch.
  • Do you plan meals by matching food ingredients that can be used for both lunches and dinners? Only a third of the people we surveyed do.

There are lots of simple steps you can take to love your lunch so let’s tuck in!

General lunch tips

1. Plan your lunches to save time and money – this is key to easy lunches for the week with no waste. Spend just a little time getting organised at the weekends to be ‘lunch ready’ for the week ahead.
2. Buy ingredients that can multitask – when planning the weekly shop try to include ingredients that can be used for both dinners and lunches. For example, a bag of spinach might go into a curry dinner and a salad for lunch!
3. Use up what you already have – before you shop, check your fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what food you already have that can be used for tasty lunches.
4. Find a lunchbox you love – whatever works for you! A stash of lunch boxes and reusable containers are great to make sure your food stays fresh and intact, so it doesn’t go to waste. These might come from things you already have – washing out glass jars with lids can make for a useful lunch container!
5. Make a lunch you’ll love to eat – if you’re tired of the same old sandwich, why not try something new that will have you looking forward to lunch!

Working lunch

1. Use dinner leftovers for lunch – a tasty alternative to a sandwich, and you’ll save money! If you’re heading into the office, pop your dinner leftovers in a container to bring with you.
2. Use your loaf! – bread that’s starting to go stale is often perfect once toasted. A toasted sandwich is a great way to use up odds and ends such as meat or veg leftover from a roast dinner.
3. Use extra veg to make soup for lunch – chop up the unused veggies lying at the bottom of the fridge to make a tasty soup. Keep it hot in a flask or heat it up in the microwave.
4. Transport salad dressing separately – adding the dressing to your salad just before you eat it to ensure that the salad remain fresh.
5. You can make sandwiches from frozen bread – butter frozen bread straight from the freezer and sandwich together your favourite fillings. The sandwich will be defrosted by lunchtime!

Picnic lunches

1. Plan your picnic portions – know how many people you’re picnicking with and check what food you already have and only buy the food you need. By preparing and packing just enough food for your picnic you’ll avoid having to haul it home again!
2. Store your picnic right – use Tupperware containers or takeaway boxes you already have to store your picnic food. This will protect all of the delicious food at your picnic and prevent it from getting squashed.
3. Give any picnic leftovers a second chance to be eaten – keep them chilled. Pop any leftovers back into your cooler bag to keep them at their best, so they can be eaten later. Take them with you or share them with guests to take home.

We’ve got even more picnic tips to share here.

BBQ lunches

1. Plan your BBQ portions – Allow for the number of grilled foods and bread you will need – e.g. one sausage, one burger and two bread buns or rolls per person.
2. Remember that side dish portions are often smaller – keep in mind that people take a spoonful, not a full portion size, of side dishes such as green and potato salads so adjust the amount you make accordingly.
3. Keep food fresh until you need it – Bring out just enough fresh food to get the BBQ started and store the rest in the fridge so it doesn’t spoil outdoors and go to waste.
4. Cook BBQ food to order – ask what everyone would like to eat before you start grilling and cook to order rather than all at once – this will ensure food doesn’t spoil and go to waste. If anyone is still hungry then you can always cook more so food will be at its best, hot from the BBQ!
5. Replenish salads, side dishes & bread as you need them – Sides can also be stored in the fridge and topped up as supplies run low so food is at its best when you eat it.
6. Freeze BBQ leftovers for another time – you can freeze almost any BBQ food such as burger buns, meats and sauces. Even if we don’t get the good weather for multiple BBQs this summer, you can cook everything indoors another time.

For BBQ meal inspiration, check out Catherine Fulvio’s recipes and for extra BBQ tips, read more here.

School lunches

1. Leftovers can make great school lunches – dinner leftovers such as pasta, noodles and tortillas are just as good when eaten at room temperature while other leftovers like stews can be kept warm in thermal containers.
2. Include fruit that travels well – oranges and apples last longer and travel best so if they come home uneaten, they can be eaten by someone else at home or given another chance in the lunchbox the next day. Bananas, pears or fresh berries will go to mush pretty easily, so might end up going straight in the bin.
3. Get the kids involved – getting kids involved in making their lunches means they are more likely to eat it. For younger kids, you can give them different lunch options to choose from, while your teens could add their own lunch food list to the main shopping list.
4. Keep track of what is eaten and not eaten – by keeping track of uneaten or half-eaten lunches you’ll know kids’ preferences or if the portion sizes were too big. Before you plan your next food shop, ask the kids what food they don’t like or if there’s something new they’d like to try. This will help you make a list of lunch options for the following week.

Check out these handy school lunch plans and more top tips for school lunches here.

Tell us how you stop food waste at lunch!

We love hearing about the top tips you put into action! Tell us yours by using #StopFoodWaste on social media.

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