I made a rookie error today, and went shopping whilst hungry. Thankfully the only thing that saved me was only having £10 in my purse and having deliberately left my bankcard at home. We only needed a few bits for this week – some milk and cheese for Gary & Gabe, some more fruit (whatever was on best offers) and peppers, plus a loaf of bread as I hadn’t got round to baking one – the only “extra” that fell in to the basket was some Staffordshire Oatcakes. It took a lot of willpower to not drop something quick to eat in the basket, but when I got home I made a lovely egg sarnie with a freshly laid egg which more than made up for it.
It is well documented that shopping whilst hungry increases impulse buys, and those impulse buys tend to be of the junk food variety. I can happily bypass the middle aisles of a supermarket most of the time, but if hungry they are the aisles that lure me in the most. It is a good idea if shopping on a budget to eat before you go and take a list, and try to avoid the temptation of multibuys. Quite often they aren’t actually better value, and with fresh goods you really need to think if you will eat double the amount you planned to buy before the use by date. If the deal is good, but you won’t eat it all before it spoils, plan in advance and freeze up any extras.
Best Before & Use By Dates
Use by dates are the important ones, you’ll find them on fresh produce – milk, cheese, meat, veg – and I always check the use by dates if shopping in the supermarket and pick the longest available. However, don’t forget to use your nose and eyes! I once lived with someone who would throw anything out as soon as it hit the use by date, even if it was clearly still fresh. This used to drive me nuts as was so wasteful and costly. Storing fruit and veg properly will extend its shelf life, and keeping your fridge and freezer in optimum temperatures also helps keep meat and dairy fresher for longer. If something is coming up to its use by date I plan it into that days meals or if I can’t cook with it freeze it up. I really hate waste!
Best Before dates are really just a guide. Although the product may be better before this date, they will last long beyond. Well-stored beans and lentils are a good example, as they will last for years if kept properly. Don’t sweat best before dates, try to use up items coming up to or just beyond them, but as these are mostly on dried goods just make sure you store in a cool dark place to keep them lasting longer.
Tonight we are having a chili with rice. This is a really cheap meal, and very filling. Gary will be working outside most of today and will be rather hungry when he returns home, and Gabe despite having dinner with his lovely Child Minder is always wanting a second supper (my little hobbit!). This is the recipe I use from the Allotment Garden site, and I’ll be making a double batch so we have an easy meal later in the week Meaty Vegan Chilli