Here at Good Food we're always trying to find realistic solutions to the problem of food waste generated by our test kitchen. If you too are looking for achievable ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen, you've come to the right place. Below you'll find a compilation of tried-and-tested food waste tips taken from the Good Food team, with ideas ranging from deep-flavoured bone broths made from chicken bones to salad dressings shaken in your mustard jar.


We've also got plenty of ideas for how to use your leftovers. See our collections of leftover recipes, freezable recipes and freezable family meals for more inspiration.

1. Serve dinner ‘Family style’ – Cassie Best, food director

I can’t bear to see food go to waste, so much so that I have even been known to repurpose uneaten scraps from my kids' dinner plates! Having kids with fluctuating appetites can create waste, but I’ve now learnt that it’s much better to serve smaller portions and let them take more if they want to, rather than overfilling plates with food which may go uneaten. Serving dinner ‘Family style’ (i.e. everything goes in the middle of the table) helps too as any leftover food tends to be saliva-free and easy to store for another day!

Bread is one of the most wasted foods in the UK. If you often find yourself throwing away half a loaf, pop half the loaf into the freezer as soon as you by it. Once the first half has been eaten, defrost the second half at room temperature for half a day and you’ve doubled the life of your loaf. If you have stale bread to use up, bread and butter pudding is the way forward!

Reduce the amount of food scraps you produce by adopting a ‘use it all’ approach. For example, if your vegetables are clean, there’s no need to peel them (the peel with add extra fibre, too!). Broccoli stalks add crunch to salads, or can be finely sliced and added to a stir-fry. Cauliflower leaves will add a new dimension to your cauliflower cheese, and beetroot and celery leaves are great in a salad. Apple cores can be grated or blended for making bircher muesli (just remove the stalk and pips) and banana peel can even be baked into a cake.

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Banana peel breakfast cake cut into slices

2. Make deep-flavoured bone broth – Barney Desmazery, skills and shows editor

Rather than stock, which then needs turning into something else, I save all my chicken bones (roasted or raw) in the freezer, along with coriander stalks and veg peel, and then make a deep-flavoured bone broth. All my kept bits go into a pressure cooker frozen, then I add unpeeled ginger, garlic, onions (and their skins) soy, miso, rice wine, a small splash of vinegar and oyster sauce. I just cover everything with water, bring it up to the boil and pressure cook on high for 30 mins, then strain and I have the most amazing broth that can be eaten as it is or used as the base to a big bowl of soupy noodles.

I think the thing that’s often discarded, which I always keep and freeze, is the skin from onion. They can’t be eaten as they are, but they add loads of flavour and they also leach out their colour to help give stocks or gravies that deep amber colour you're after. If you want to get even more colour and smoky flavour into your stock or sauce you can also char the skins first.

If I buy a pack of chillies and only need one, rather than doing something about them once I’ve found them past their best at the back of the fridge, I freeze them straight away and chop or grate them from frozen.

Easy onion gravy

3. Turn vegetables into freezable soup – Samuel Goldsmith, food copy editor

If I have any veg that looks like it’s on its way out, I turn it into a vegetable soup and then freeze it in batches of 1-2 portions so it can easily be defrosted for lunch or dinner. Whenever I am making soup I don’t peel the veg because it’s not necessary. Just give them a bit of a scrub if they need it.

I also always freeze things in portions or, with something like chicken breasts, I’ll freeze individually or in groups of 2 so I can defrost the exact number I need. Otherwise I end up defrosting too many and wasting the ones I don’t use.

Bowl of roasted vegetable soup next to a smaller bowl of halloumi croutons

4. Buy frozen sofrito mix – Lulu Grimes, managing editor

I often buy frozen sofrito mix if I’m not sure how much cooking I will be doing, then I won’t have carrots and celery going past their best. If your kitchen is quite warm and your fridge isn’t enormous, storing fresh veg for any length of time can be tricky.

5. Turn chicken into curries, salads and sandwiches – Keith Kendrick, magazines editor

I write out two meal plans for the week – one for kids, one for adults – and order lots of ingredients. At the weekend, I cook the kids’ weeknight meals, plus a dozen jars of soup for my wife and me to take to work. Ever tried roasting a whole cauliflower, stalks and all, then blitzing it with coconut milk and spices? Delicious! I use the stalks of kale and broccoli, too – lovely when roasted with Marmite. And our Sunday chicken provides enough leftovers to make a curry, a salad and sandwiches for the kids.

Two plates of chicken curry with mangetout and rice.

6. Opt for frozen veg – Natalie Hardwick, editor

I’m terrible for overbuying veg and ending up with gnarled old bits of cauliflower and shrivelled peppers in my fridge drawer. I’ve found the easiest way to mitigate it is to opt for frozen veg where the recipe allows it. Granted, there is no rival for the al dente bite of fresh veg, and some veg tastes better fresh, but the range and versatility of frozen veg opens up a world of cooking options. Like lots of us, my stash starts with frozen peas, but over the years I’ve expanded out into frozen green beans, peas, peppers, cauliflower, edamame beans and broccoli. It also comes ready-prepped, which saves on washing-up. I turn peas and broccoli into soup, and serve frozen edamame with air-fryer salmon and rice.

Shrivelled mushrooms that are past their best don’t exactly have visual appeal, but they taste fine once blitzed into a paste. I add it to bolognese while cooking the sofrito as a stealthy additional veg portion, plus a hit of umami flavour.

Two bowls of broccoli & pea soup

7. Weigh almost everything beforehand – Katie Meston, premium editor

This may sound a little daft but I never used to weigh out any ingredients when I cook, meaning that I would constantly be throwing away surplus cooked rice, pasta and even proteins because I couldn’t eat it all. I realise that I could save any leftovers but to me, knowing what I want to actually do with the leftovers the next day seems like a laborious task – particularly when it’s 2 tbsp worth of rice for example. Now I weigh nearly everything before cooking – what's more, it's good to know you are eating the correct portion size.

8. Save your parmesan rinds – Isabella Keeling, health writer

My favourite food waste tip is to save your parmesan rinds. When it gets down to that gnarly bit towards the end, when the cheese is getting too hard to grate, don’t throw it in the bin! Wrap it up and pop it in the fridge. Next time you’re making risotto or a creamy pasta, chuck the rind in and simmer gently – all the remaining cheese will be released, leaving you with a deliciously flavoured and slightly thickened dish. I personally love doing this with a broccoli and anchovy pasta, as the flavours work so well together.

Pot of risotto with tomato, mascarpone and basil leaves on top next to bowl of parmesan

9. Switch to frozen fruit for breakfast – Emily Marten, digital assistant

My main tip for reducing food waste is to make the most of my freezer. If I buy a nice loaf of sourdough, I’ll make sure to slice it all up and pop it in a bag in the freezer – that way I know that it’s not going to go off and I can still have toast at a moment’s notice. I also keep berries in the freezer as they can go straight onto peanut butter toast or into overnight oats and even taste nicer frozen (the same can be said for frozen grapes, which make a great snack)!

Oats with fruit and peanut butter in jar

10. Turn tortilla wraps into crisps – Sarah Nittinger, senior sub editor

It’s just my husband and I at home, so I often end up with surplus ingredients cooking for just two. That’s especially true for loaves of bread – we rarely get through a whole loaf before its best-by date. Throwing out half a loaf is such a waste, so I cut it into cubes, bake until dried out, then blitz in the food processor to make breadcrumbs. Same with tortilla wraps – I cut what’s left of a pack into triangles and bake with a little oil and salt to make crisps. I also like to make tomato sauce using any slightly past-their-best tomatoes and any other veg I have – aubergines, garlic, spring onions, shallots etc. I roast it all on one tray, cool slightly, then blitz in a blender along with any wilted fresh herbs I have. It can be chilled or frozen, and used on pasta, pizza, or as a base for other dishes.


11. Shake up a salad dressing out of a mustard jar – Lara-Jane Johnston, digital marketing executive

When I get to the end of a jar of jam or mustard I will make up a vinaigrette or salad dressing. It's a really easy way to add flavour to a salad dressing. I usually add olive oil, salt, lemon and honey, or if it’s a jam jar, I will add oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and some finely chopped shallots.

Another tip is to re-grow your spring onion – probably my most used hack! Chop your spring onion up but save about 5cm at the end and put it in a jar of water in the fridge. Change the water daily and after a week or so you will have more spring onion!

Universal salad dressing in a jar

12. Chuck leftover nuts into salads – Helen Salter, digital writer

I love to chuck whatever nuts I have lurking in my storecupboard from previous recipes into my lunchtime salads. They'll bulk up and transform your salad beyond a bed of green leaves and they give you that desirable crunch, plus they're a great source of protein. My favourite nuts to throw into salads are walnuts, pistachios and almonds, but anything goes.

Waldorf salad served on a serving plate

13. Make use of your vegetable peels – Gillian McNeill, art director

I will sometimes bake sweet potato peels in the oven until crispy and use them as a healthy treat. Other options for peel leftovers, or even if they are out of date but still edible, are carrots, kale, broccoli, spinach, berries and apples. You can also steam or boil them and add to your dog's meals for extra nutrition. But I find it better to blend and freeze them into ice cube treats or serve as part of their meal, as it keeps longer. Basically, it's a case of reusing what I already have instead of buying expensive dog treats.

Baking tray of vegetable crisps.

More on how to reduce food waste

How to reduce food packaging waste
Leftovers recipes: How to use up commonly wasted ingredients
5 nights of waste-free family meals
How to freeze food
Freezable batch-cook recipes
How to safely reheat leftovers


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