Episode five

00:00:03 Fiona Spence 

Hello and welcome to our podcast series focusing on food well-being and mental health run by NHS Fife Nutrition and clinical dietetics, mental health and learning disability team. 

00:00:14 Fiona Spence 

My name is Fiona Spence. I'm a registered nutritionist and today I'm joined by GAIL Brown, who's a dietitian. In this episode we will be talking about eating well on a budget, but first of all, let's meet Gail. 

00:00:27 Gail Brown 

Hi, my name is Gail Brown. I'm a dietitian working for NHS Fife. I work in the learning disability team I've been working in five for about the last 16 years and I'm just delighted that you've asked me to come here today to talk about eating well on a budget. It's an area that's close to my heart.  

00:00:47 Gail Brown 

I work with adults who have a learning disability, so it's something that can be quite difficult to achieve and can be quite challenging, so I think there's going to be lots of discussions today, Fiona so I'm looking forward to it. 

00:00:57 Fiona Spence 

Thanks for joining us. Uhm, so today we want to discuss how realistic it is to eat well on a budget and how we achieve this. 

00:01:06 Fiona Spence 

We'll be talking about the barriers people face, convenience and processed foods, food waste and some money saving tips which we all appreciate. 

00:01:14 Fiona Spence 

What are your thoughts on eating well on a budget? Gail, I know you said this is an area very close to your heart. 

00:01:21 Gail Brown 

Yep, I think opinions can be divided about whether it's achievable to eat a balanced, healthy diet when money is concerned. On one hand, certain healthy foods can be expensive to buy on a regular basis. 

00:01:31 Gail Brown 

But then on the other hand, following healthy guidelines can result in cost savings when compared to reliance on convenience foods. 

00:01:40 Gail Brown 

But we do know that people on a low income and those living in deprived areas have below average health. 

00:01:48 Gail Brown 

And for these people, there's barriers for being able to access more affordable food, and today we want to explore these barriers a bit further. 

00:01:56 Fiona Spence 

So can you give me some examples of these barriers and what factors directly affect people having access to good nutritious food. 

00:02:04 Gail Brown 

Yeah, there can be quite a lot of barriers that affect people. People don't have enough money to buy sufficient foods, and I think that is more and more apparent in the current climate. With rising costs of fuel and energy. 

00:02:18 Gail Brown 

People are very limited or lack of cooking skills and they maybe not have access to cooking equipment as well which can make it really difficult. 

00:02:26 Gail Brown 

You know in schools they don't do the same kind of cooking skills as they previously did, so people are quite limited. 

00:02:33 Gail Brown 

Peoples lives are really busy. You know people have limited time to prepare and plan meals. Time is a massive thing and to be able to eat well you need to plan, you need to do a bit preparation work. 

00:02:45 Gail Brown 

So this can be difficult for a lot of people and we can relate to that because we all have busy days. 

00:02:51 Gail Brown 

Totally. People are juggling so much. 

00:02:53 Gail Brown 

These days there's family. There's work life, extended family, which can make this planning really difficult and you can see why people just grab more convenience foods rather than making a meal. Just kind of more eating on the run rather than food preparation. 

00:03:10 Gail Brown 

And it's depending on where people live as well. You can have access to lots of shops, or you might have no access to shops and you might be limited to what transports available. 

00:03:21 Gail Brown 

Relying on like local shops, which can also be a lot more expensive and you're very limited to what choices are available so there is lots of barriers that affect people eating well. 

00:03:32 Fiona Spence 

And it's not just so straightforward. I think some people maybe think it's quite clear cut. You either eat well or you don't, and actually there's a lot of factors that are involved. 

00:03:42 Gail Brown 

It really is and this can lead to food poverty which is not being able to access nutritionally adequate food in a socially acceptable way. 

00:03:52 Gail Brown 

So not being able to access food through purchasing it yourself, you may be relying on food banks or food parcels which you see is massively on the rise at the moment, and unfortunately in these situations, individuals tend to have little control about what food they have. 

00:04:10 Gail Brown 

And it's estimated more than 500,000 people in the UK rely on food parcels, which is a huge increase in previous years. 

00:04:18 Gail Brown 

Someone who relies on food parcels are very limited in what food they can have access to. They can't pick or choose the food they're given, and they might not have the knowledge or the skills or what to do with the food that they're given. 

00:04:30 Gail Brown 

Which is a real barrier. 

00:04:31 Fiona Spence 

I think it must be so difficult, because if you're in the position that you're relying on food banks or food parcels, unless you have the skills and you know what you're doing. 

00:04:41 Fiona Spence 

And you aren't sure what you're getting. It must be really challenging, especially if you have to consider that you may have very limited ways to cook. You may only own a kettle and a toaster or a microwave if you're lucky. 

00:04:53 Fiona Spence 

Never mind a fridge or a cooker. 

00:04:56 Gail Brown 

And it is a real skill to put a meal together with the ingredients that you've got. 

00:04:59 Gail Brown 

Do you need to know how to cook it? How to prepare it? How long you cook things for or store things? Or have you the skills? 

00:05:08 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, and if you have family members or people in your household with likes and dislikes to consider, you're under a huge amount of pressure. 

00:05:15 Fiona Spence 

'cause you don't want to waste anything. 

00:05:17 Gail Brown 

And it is. It's really difficult, really difficult doing this without skills. And as you say, people could have limited kitchen appliances as well. 

00:05:25 Fiona Spence 

So now let's talk about home cooking versus convenience food. How can this impact our health? And also how can it impact our budget? 

00:05:34 Gail Brown 

So cooking at home can be associated with improved health and cost savings as compared to eating out and using convenience foods. 

00:05:41 Gail Brown 

But of course this will depend on the type ingredients you use, what foods eaten, regardless of whether it's made from scratch or prepared. 

00:05:51 Fiona Spence 

So let's start by talking about processed food and convenience food. What this means and their bad reputation. 

00:05:58 Gail Brown 

I think processed foods have had a particularly bad reputation. 

00:06:02 Gail Brown 

And it's because of the quantities of fat, salt, sugar in them. Your processed foods tend to be things like your burgers, your sausages, your pies, your bacon. 

00:06:12 Gail Brown 

When is your convenience? Foods tends to be like your ready meals, things that can be popped in the microwave and eating quickly and on the go. 

00:06:20 Gail Brown 

However, there are also plenty of healthy and more affordable processed foods, and these include things like your frozen fruit and vegetables, your tinned fish and pulses and hummus, etc. 

00:06:32 Gail Brown 

Processed foods and convenience foods can also be vital source of nourishment for those who struggle to cook 

00:06:41 Gail Brown 

And supermarkets often offer, like a healthier alternative to their standard processed meal. 

00:06:43 Gail Brown 

But I think it is really vital that people check the food labels and their packaging to see what they're looking for and see what they're purchasing. 

00:06:50 Fiona Spence 

I think that's really helpful, Gail, and the checking labels thing, although quite a minefield we do have a link in the description below with a short video talking you through things to look for on a food label 

00:07:03 Fiona Spence 

and also the Food Standards Scotland Link is listed as well, so hopefully that will help. It's actually a subject I'd really like to get into as it's such a minefield and labels can look very different from one shop to the next, and it's very confusing for members of the public. 

00:07:18 Gail Brown 

It's so confusing and I think we're healthcare professionals working in this industry. 

00:07:23 Gail Brown 

And we find it confusing. So never mind you know the Joe public and it can feel really overwhelming when you go into the supermarket. 

00:07:30 Gail Brown 

You're trying to do your best in terms of healthier or reduced fat or low this or light that, and but it's all marketed very differently and you're like I'm buying this healthy. What am I buying? 

00:07:43 Gail Brown 

What have I got? would just be better with original product. It is a total minefield. You're right Fiona. 

00:07:48 Fiona Spence 

It's very misleading, isn't it? Because there's so many people that are buying specific products. Maybe it's a brand that advertises itself as being healthy. 

00:07:57 Fiona Spence 

And actually, when you look at the backs of the labels and you look at the content you're like, it's the equivalent of a chocolate bar, and it's insane. 

00:08:04 Gail Brown 

They’re so clever with their marketing really are and make it really confusing for people. And I think you don't want to spend hours in the supermarket. 

00:08:11 Gail Brown 

But as we said earlier, people are busy, so you kind of want to go in and out. But if you've got to stand and read labels and compare. 

00:08:18 Gail Brown 

It could add a lot more onto your shopping experience 

00:08:21 Fiona Spence 

It could yeah, so if people were able to get their head around some of the things to look for on a food label, it may really help with shopping. 

00:08:27 Fiona Spence 

So please do take a look at the links and hopefully you do get some use out of them. But like you say there are other alternative processed foods and convenience foods. 

00:08:36 Fiona Spence 

Which are, you know, your typical ping meals as I would call them, and they can often be healthier choices. 

00:08:41 Fiona Spence 

but you have to know what you're buying. 

00:08:44 Gail Brown 

And there definitely is a place for them. Much better than snacking on high fatty, sugary foods, but it really does depend on what you buy and your circumstances and processed foods on the whole should not be shunned. 

00:08:57 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely not. And so let's talk about reducing food waste. GAIL, something many of us are likely very aware of and are striving really hard to achieve now 

00:09:05 Fiona Spence 

Not only to do with saving us money and reducing how much we spend, but the environmental impact as well, what's your take on food waste Gail? 

00:09:15 Gail Brown 

It is a topic very close to my heart and it's something that we all need to try and consider and play a part in trying to address. 

00:09:23 Gail Brown 

And I think if planning ahead is a realistic option, this can be a great way of saving money related to food, and it can help reduce food waste, which is really important to the environment as well as our wallets. 

00:09:35 Gail Brown 

I was quite shocked at the stats that the UK average household loses just under £500 per year due to avoidable food waste and that can be as high as £700 for those with children, which is a huge amount overall. 

00:09:51 Fiona Spence 

It's frightening. 

00:09:52 Gail Brown 

It is, it's scary and then peoples budgets and money is becoming more tight at the moment. That's something that they don't need to be losing out on so. 

00:10:01 Gail Brown 

Planning meals and preparing shopping lists can also reduce the need to buy food on the go, which often works out a lot more expensive than preparing meals or snacks at home.  

00:10:13 Gail Brown 

And I think if you're eating on the go. You probably over buy stuff and then that's when the food is wasted more often. So I know myself if I do a weekly food shop, I stick to my lead list and I stick to my budget. 

00:10:25 Gail Brown 

Whereas if I don't plan ahead, I just nip to the shops a couple of times a week. I spend double the amount. With often nothing really to make a meal. 

00:10:32 Gail Brown 

But I spend so much more I just grab things and buy things without really a plan so it really does pay off financially and in other areas to plan and prepare. 

00:10:45 Fiona Spence 

That figure 700 pound of food waste a year. If you're a family that's just ringing in my ears. 

00:10:53 Fiona Spence 

Because all I can think about is that's a holiday. That's a family holiday, that's terrifying. And actually you could get an extra holiday a year. 

00:11:01 Fiona Spence 

If you didn't spend that kind of money on that food waste, that's incredible. 

00:11:05 Fiona Spence 

And a lot of us will have these food waste bins in our kitchen as well, and it's very visible to see what's going in it. 

00:11:12 Fiona Spence 

I know when I'm putting things in that bin I am so aware of what goes in 

00:11:15 Fiona Spence 

And I'm always wondering, can I use this again? Can I make another meal with it? Am I just going to eat it? 

00:11:22 Gail Brown 

Usually in the mouth. 

00:11:23 Gail Brown 

I hate waste 

00:11:26 Fiona Spence 

Yeah I have to say though I do draw the line at the kids leftover cereal though, although there may be some really resourceful people listening who could inspire me some ways to use leftover cereal. No, soggy mess, soggy mess. 

00:11:38 Gail Brown 

In the bin. 

00:11:39 Fiona Spence 

Maybe things can be given to the pets or should like I say, I'll just eat. 

00:11:44 Fiona Spence 

It, but you do look at these foods and feel real guilt at being thrown away and think of the alternative though, instead of throwing this food away, put less on your plate and consider your portion sizes. 

00:11:54 Fiona Spence 

It's much better to have extra if you still need it than piling on too much and wasting it, especially when it comes to kids, because we all know they go through their phases. 

00:12:03 Fiona Spence 

They can be awkward with meals or at the dinner table, so I think yeah, that a little tip there is just start out small and if the extra isn't needed pop it in the fridge or the freezer if you can. 

00:12:13 Gail Brown 

I think so. When you think all the poverty out there and you think you know, be that exceptionally rich country, wasting all this food. 

00:12:20 Gail Brown 

It does make you feel awful. Do you know when people can’t afford or do not have access to any food? 

00:12:28 Gail Brown 

And it is things like having leftovers for your lunch the next day or having the same dinner 2 nights in a row. There's nothing wrong with that at all. 

00:12:35 Fiona Spence 

Oh totally, I love it when I have a leftover. 

00:12:37 Fiona Spence 

And I don't have to make my lunch up for work. 

00:12:39 Gail Brown 

I know like you've got your like somebody made your dinner for you and it can be food waste can be reduced even further if you freeze it or refrigerate it and it as you say it can be used. 

00:12:50 Gail Brown 

For another meal, and like you said earlier Fiona,it's like having an awareness about the portion sizes. 

00:12:57 Gail Brown 

That can really help with food waste. 

00:13:00 Gail Brown 

You know, sometimes I free pour my pasta or my rice and you're like, oh man, that's a big waste but if you measured it out for the exact amount that you need and then you're spending less money on food that's not maybe eaten or you're going to throw away. 

00:13:14 Fiona Spence 

I know and you can buy all these little tools as well. These little like measure portion sizes that especially for spaghetti you can get the circular spaghetti measures and you just pop it inside the plastic device and it'll tell you if that's for one person. 

00:13:19 Gail Brown 

Yeah, it's so handy. 

00:13:30 Fiona Spence 

If it's for two people, three people and so on, at least it gives you a bit of an indication. 

00:13:34 Fiona Spence 

'cause I have never got a clue how much spaghetti to put in. 

00:13:37 Gail Brown 

No, and I do that for my pasta and my rice and my cereal, a scoop just so a set amount depending how many you're feeding as well and and it can be really hard 'cause you're pasta and your rice it's hard to judge 'cause they swell so it does just being a wee bit more aware with a rough guide, yeah? 

00:13:52 Fiona Spence 

They do, you put a little bit in the pot and before you know it like the pots overflowing, but you've not got enough water in there. 

00:13:55 Gail Brown 

Or you think I’ve not got enough so I’ll just have another pour 

00:14:02 Fiona Spence 

So when it comes to plant based foods what's your thoughts around this and when it comes to saving money, can we save money by having more of a plant based diet? 

00:14:11 Gail Brown 

Yeah we can and consuming a well balanced, mainly plant based diet, oaft that's a hard one. Plant based diet is associated with more positive outcomes in terms of health and cancer health. 

00:14:22 Gail Brown 

But plant based diets can also be more like cost saving. There can be benefits there to save money. However, adopting a full plant based diet in a balanced way may not be realistic or appealing for everybody. 

00:14:35 Gail Brown 

But say for a starting point, if you include a few meat free meals or meat free days in a week 

00:14:43 Gail Brown 

And this may be more realistic for people, so there's tonnes of meals and recipes out there that you know you could have without adding meat. 

00:14:50 Gail Brown 

Or you can have meat alternatives. 

00:14:52 Fiona Spence 

I know, and I guess when we're talking about plant based foods or a plant based diet, it's important to remember that this isn't promoting all these specialist vegan options out there, which are really noticeable. 

00:15:03 Fiona Spence 

In shops and supermarkets now it can just mean a baked potato with beans or a pasta dish without adding meat or fish or whatever. It doesn't need to mean buying these expensive foods and brands. 

00:15:14 Gail Brown 

Totally and it doesn't need to be complicated either just some pasta or veg. 

00:15:18 Gail Brown 

And some people can get really overwhelmed trying to think how to achieve a plant based diet or a meal. 

00:15:24 Gail Brown 

But you do just need the basics and it can be quicker as well. If you're got a hungry household desperate for their dinner. 

00:15:30 Gail Brown 

If you don't need to cook meat, your dinner can be ready in half the time which is win win 

00:15:35 Fiona Spence 

Do you know what, that happens in our house all the time 

00:15:38 Fiona Spence 

And we often have plant based meals and it's not always because we've chosen this. Sometimes we do, but because I've forgotten to take something out the freezer the night before, or I haven't planned a dinner. 

00:15:48 Fiona Spence 

So it's whatever we can make this quick and making vegan or vegetarian meals can be a quick fix. 

00:15:54 Fiona Spence 

And can take a lot of time out of cooking a quick veggie stir fry in comparison to waiting on your meat browning or whatever so it can make a really quick meal for a family. 

00:16:05 Gail Brown 

It does help in the environment and the cost as well, so it is a win win. 

00:16:11 Fiona Spence 

So moving on, maybe something people are eagerly awaiting is the money saving food. Shopping tips. Where do you want to start with this, Gail? 

00:16:20 Gail Brown 

Oh my God, I feel like Martin Lewis from yeah my money supermarket man here’s tips Gail's top tips and there is a number of habits which we can help to reduce the cost of the weekly food shopping bill. 

00:16:32 Gail Brown 

And it's important to bear in mind that these are not feasible for everybody. For example, some of the tips involve extra time and planning and access to shop, storage facilities, access to freezer and having literacy skills and also some something we talked about in our chat. 

00:16:51 Gail Brown 

But saving money in food waste is buying in bulk, and portion control, to cooking batches and where possible to freeze. 

00:16:59 Gail Brown 

And there’s something really nice if you take something out the freezer and it's like you've had your dinner cooked for you and you’re like yes, 

00:17:06 Fiona Spence 

Oh, it's a lovely feeling. 

00:17:06 Gail Brown 

no cooking for two nights and just ping it in the microwave, isn't it? 

00:17:12 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely. 2 minutes in the microwave. That's what we like. 

00:17:14 Gail Brown 

I know, so if you can plan and bulk buy, bulk cook and pop some in the freezer. That does save a huge amount of money and it saves on the waste side to things as well. 

00:17:27 Gail Brown 

But this is not realistic for a lot of people. Some people live paycheck to paycheck, so they might not have that extra money to buy extra and a lot of people don't have places to store it. They might not have a fridge might not have a freezer. 

00:17:40 Fiona Spence 

And for people relying on food banks. 

00:17:42 Gail Brown 

It is, it might not work for everybody and you don't know what food you're getting from the food bank either. Uhm, so yeah, it's not for everybody, and people may have really hectic schedules, medical conditions or disabilities. 

00:17:56 Gail Brown 

And it's not possible to do that. Another tip is swapping expensive brands for your supermarket brands. 

00:18:06 Fiona Spence 

Now that's a really good money saving tip. 

00:18:08 Gail Brown 

And it saves you a fortune. You know if you look at something like the price of cereal compared to the supermarket brand and. 

00:18:14 Fiona Spence 

And I love these blindfold tests. You know, you can't tell the difference. People are quizzed on food and drink product. 

00:18:16 Gail Brown 

You can't tell the difference, no? 

00:18:21 Fiona Spence 

I love it when you see it on TV they have like their brand that they buy all the time and they never ever buy anything else. 

00:18:29 Fiona Spence 

'cause they're like, no, that's the brand that I love and then somebody puts in front of them and they're blindfolded. 

00:18:33 Fiona Spence 

They put their normal brand that they have all the time and then they put the supermarkets own brand next to it and they say tell me the difference and they cannot tell you which one is which, because they're so similar. 

00:18:44 Gail Brown 

No, and the difference in price is huge, you know. 

00:18:47 Fiona Spence 

I know it's like £3.00 for a box of cereal sometimes and their own brands like 1/3 of the price. 

00:18:51 Gail Brown 

Totally and also just shopping in your you know you have your different levels of supermarkets and you've got your ones that are higher end and your ones that are. 

00:19:01 Gail Brown 

more cheaper versions and you just get more affordable. That's the right word, 3, but it is. It's it's if you've got access to them. It makes a huge difference. I know when I. 

00:19:02 Fiona Spence 

More affordable yeah yeah. 

00:19:12 Gail Brown 

Shop in a different supermarket. It's more higher end. My shopping can be double the costs. It's crazy and you're just like. 

00:19:15 Fiona Spence 

Well, we all see that. Yeah, I know the ones that I like to go to and the ones that I'm not so keen on. 

00:19:20 Gail Brown 

No, no, when you're just nipping for that few things and you spend the budget for the week. 

00:19:26 Gail Brown 

If possible, it's always better to use a supermarket. 

00:19:28 Gail Brown 

OK, than a small shop as they do tend to charge more and you are very limited sometimes for choice of what you can access. 

00:19:36 Fiona Spence 

I guess that's why they're called convenience stores. They and that we're paying for the convenience. 

00:19:40 Gail Brown 

Yeah, also check the discount section of a supermarket in the evening and try not to buy something purely 'cause it's on offer. It isn't a bargain if you don't actually need it. 

00:19:49 Gail Brown 

or want it and also look at the used by best before dates and as if you buy them quite close you can put them in the freezer or use them straight away and that can be a great saver. 

00:20:02 Gail Brown 

And it's often at night, like if you go on a night time, you see things to reduce so you can pick up quite a lot of things then, and save quite a bit of money. 

00:20:11 Fiona Spence 

You know it took me a while to click to this, and when my supermarket has these offers available but I do get awfully excited about it and there's times where I've been shopping and things in the discount section are on my list. 

00:20:22 Fiona Spence 

I've returned the stuff I've already picked up in my trolley and taken the discounted items to put in my freezer instead, because they're like half the price. But I have the luxury of a freezer and not everyone does. 

00:20:32 Fiona Spence 

But the fridge aisle can be loaded with stuff. 

00:20:35 Fiona Spence 

A bit of a hit or a miss, but sometimes it can inspire you to try something new as well, totally. 

00:20:40 Gail Brown 

And things like your loaves of bread just get them if it's on the day and pop them in the freezer and you've got them. 

00:20:45 Gail Brown 

I was really confused one night to and there's a huge crowd around the bottom of the aisle. 

00:20:49 Gail Brown 

What the heck is going on here and I didn't realise it was. 

00:20:50 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, we all get really excited about it. 

00:20:54 Gail Brown 

And another really good tip is buying like frozen versions of the food so you can get your berries or vegetables, your meat, your fish, and these tend to be a significant amount cheaper than when you're buying them fresh. 

00:21:08 Gail Brown 

We will include a link at the end of the podcast as well, just on top tips and descriptions, and you can refer back to it so and hopefully that will be helpful. 

00:21:18 Fiona Spence 

And do you think going back to basics helps? 

00:21:21 Gail Brown 

Definitely Fiona when it comes to eating in a budget. 

00:21:24 Gail Brown 

Your staple foods, like your bread or potatoes or rice or pasta, are genuinely really good value for money, and they're nutritious and their part is part of your healthy diet. So if you think 

00:21:35 Gail Brown 

Of something like a baked potato. They're great, they're cheap, they're healthy, they're a filling meal and you can experiment with your favourite topping. 

00:21:43 Gail Brown 

We can use like leftover pasta sauce or a Stew. 

00:21:47 Gail Brown 

And so they are great and rice and pasta are really good. 

00:21:51 Gail Brown 

They're a great store cupboard and it can be warm served warm with sauces, Curry, stews and they can be used soups to thicken up and so that I agree and they're not that expensive. 

00:22:05 Fiona Spence 

So if you're buying a bag of rice or pasta, a big bag of potatoes you don't really need to worry too much about food labels. 

00:22:13 Fiona Spence 

However we're going back to food labels again, but understanding food labels will help to reduce food waste and help you get the most out the food you buy, especially if we are talking specifically about use by and best before. 

00:22:25 Gail Brown 

It is, and it's a good understanding. It's good to understand food labels your used by and your best before dates is a good starting point and it can be really confusing. 

00:22:35 Gail Brown 

So if you see used by dates on the food that goes off quickly, so such as your meat or your ready prepared salads and you do not use these foods, or drinks after the use by date on the label, even if they look or smell fine. Using it after this date, you could put your health at risk. 

00:22:53 Fiona Spence 

And that's a really deceiving thing, isn't it? 'cause you are typically inclined to give something a sniff and assume it was OK, but actually it is there as a warning. The use by is a warning on the label. 

00:23:04 Gail Brown 

I know it totally is in. 

00:23:07 Gail Brown 

And it's remembering that use by dates rely on you storing the food properly. So what's described on the food label? 

00:23:14 Gail Brown 

So if you do not follow instructions, the food will spoil more quickly and you may be at risk of food poisoning. 

00:23:20 Gail Brown 

So it's like storing your meat in your fridge to keep it at the right temperature, etc. So you're used by dates do not always mean eat by if the food can be frozen then it their life can be extended by they used by dates and follow the instructions on the packaging such as freeze and they purchased defrost thoroughly and used within 24 hours or cook from frozen. 

00:23:45 Gail Brown 

Then you would see best before dates on a wide range of fruits and these tend to be your dry tinned or other fruits, so your best before dates. 

00:23:54 Gail Brown 

Are more about food quality than food safety and when that date runs out, it doesn't mean that the foods harmful. It just might lose a bit if it's texture of its flavour. 

00:24:06 Gail Brown 

And so always store the food as described in the food packaging. So you might just find, I look at my cupboards and my herbs may be a bit out of date but it just. 

00:24:14 Fiona Spence 

Or when you see the lettuce leaves all drippy and really sad looking. 

00:24:20 Gail Brown 

Things like your herbs, you know there's nothing goes wrong with them past the best before date might just might mean that you need to use a bit more to get the same flavour. 

00:24:28 Fiona Spence 

But they don't taste as good. Yeah, they're not as intense a flavour. 

00:24:32 Fiona Spence 

So there is a food label video. We mentioned that earlier that we're sharing so people will have a guide and so in terms of food waste which we have touched quite a bit on, do we waste a lot of money in this country? 

00:24:41 Fiona Spence 

Do we know what kind of money we waste in terms of our food. 

00:24:46 Gail Brown 

We do and it's quite scary Fiona when you look at the figures like in the UK, we waste on average like 7,000,000 tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year. 

00:24:54 Gail Brown 

And the majority could have been eaten. So what we were saying just under £500 worth of food each year. 

00:24:59 Fiona Spence 

700 that figures stuck in my head. 

00:25:02 Gail Brown 

700 If you got a family. 

00:25:04 Gail Brown 

Yeah, it's crazy when you think. I think it's just awful when there's so much poverty in the earth. 

00:25:08 Fiona Spence 

And actually see if you were to see that years waste put in a room and you could see this like it was visible. 

00:25:16 Fiona Spence 

What had been wasted, Oh my goodness, it would be horrific. 

00:25:20 Fiona Spence 

I know you think how many weekly shops you could do for £700 or for £500. 

00:25:25 Gail Brown 

And what you could do with that money? 

00:25:26 Fiona Spence 

Oh, that would make me cry. 

00:25:27 Gail Brown 

I know and many of us don't realise we're doing it. 

00:25:29 Gail Brown 

And there's many ways to reduce their food waste. Like the foods most often wasted include breads and bakery products, vegetable, salad food, drinks, dairy products, and eggs, meat and fish, and your pre-prepared meals. So using up your leftovers may seem boring and unappetizing, but there's plenty delicious 

00:25:50 Gail Brown 

Meals and snacks that could be made from even the smallest portion of leftovers and saves them money and has a huge impact on food waste, environment that type of thing. 

00:26:01 Fiona Spence 

So how do we use up our otherwise wasted food? 

00:26:04 Gail Brown 

It's trying to be creative and this can be hard for a lot of people, especially if as we say, they don't have time, they don't have cooking skills. It can be hard to know what to do with food and how to make a make a meal or a dish, but it's thinking of your leftovers. 

00:26:21 Gail Brown 

Do you know, like thinking your vegetables? Can you bung them in to make a pan of soup? I often call it like bottom of your fridge soup. 

00:26:27 Gail Brown 

You know it's all your random vegetables. The new pan of soup. 

00:26:30 Fiona Spence 

You know the one thing that I did and it was this year we had burns supper and it was haggis, neeps and tatties 

00:26:36 Fiona Spence 

You know very traditional and it was the all my kids were turning their nose up at the turnip and carrot mashed up so there was all of that leftover. 

00:26:45 Fiona Spence 

Took it off their plates, put it in a pot with some onions and shoved in some lentils and made a pot lentil soup. 

00:26:51 Fiona Spence 

And I was like they. 

00:26:51 Fiona Spence 

Eat it. No bother. Oh, it was no bother at all. Yeah and I just I was I have to say I was a little bit smug with myself. 

00:26:58 Fiona Spence 

for being a little bit creative and taking things off the plate and reusing them. 


But yeah, it worked and you've just got to think, you know. Look at that plate and actually think what would you use that for normally or what would what could you use that for? 

00:27:12 Gail Brown 

You know, can you add the vegetable to a pasta dish? You know something like that? Add a bit beans or lentils or your kidney beans. 

00:27:19 Gail Brown 

If you've got over right fruit, you know I often make up a banana loaf. 

00:27:24 Gail Brown 

Or could you make a smoothie something like that just to get used up. If you've got loads of potatoes, can you have like fish cakes or a potato bake 

00:27:34 Gail Brown 

pasta bake, a potato pie. Something like that or like if your bread's golden steel, can you make your own bread crumbs? 

00:27:44 Gail Brown 

For coating fish or chicken. 

00:27:47 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, and you don't need to have a fancy food blender to do that. You can just use a grater if you have a grater you can just grate the bread 'cause it's actually a bit on the steel side by then anyway, so it's easier to grate. 

00:27:55 Gail Brown 

And there's lots of websites out there. You just type in what ingredients you've got and then that like EM. 

00:28:02 Gail Brown 

Whatever concoction you've got, they come up by recipe for you, so that can be really helpful. 

00:28:06 Fiona Spence 

And sometimes it can literally be the most bizarre concoction you've ever eaten, and not necessarily a recipe, but it fills you up and so please look at love, food, hate waste website, which we also have a link to, and you can enter in. 

00:28:20 Fiona Spence 

I love this right? You can enter in the leftover food that you've got and it will suggest recipes for you and it can be as complicated. 

00:28:26 Fiona Spence 

Or as basic as you like, depending on your own skills, you don't need to have a larder full of the ingredients or be master chef. 

00:28:32 Fiona Spence 

You can choose what works and it's nice to get some inspiration for something which may seem like a boring leftover ingredient. 

00:28:38 Gail Brown 

And just feels like something different. 

00:28:40 Gail Brown 

Doesn't it instead of the same set meals that you have, it's always good to take into account if you're including eating out in your weekly meal plan to make sure. If you have plans to eat out, not to overbuy. 

00:28:53 Gail Brown 

So it is trying to project what you need for the week ahead. 

00:28:57 Gail Brown 

As a family, or if you're on your own, just trying to think what have I got going on this or that night. 

00:29:02 Gail Brown 

The kids have got that this night so can have an easy meal, we’re eating out on that night. 

00:29:06 Gail Brown 

So it's taking account. 

00:29:07 Fiona Spence 

Or you don't need to cook for somebody that night. 

00:29:09 Gail Brown 

Yeah, so it's trying to look ahead and then make your plans so you don't have lots of extra food that you're buying. 

00:29:17 Fiona Spence 

So we've got an abundance of tips for you, but actually looking at the links, you'll find a lot of money saving food waste reducing tips alongside recipes, so please take a look in the description below. 

00:29:28 Fiona Spence 

So GAIL, this has been really interesting today. We could literally talk on this subject for hours, but if we had to sum it up, what main points can you give us today from our chat? 

00:29:39 Gail Brown 

I think look at the number of ways you can have a healthy balanced diet whilst also how to save money. 

00:29:45 Gail Brown 

So I think shop wisely, do a list, don't go food shopping when you're hungry. 'cause this is just can be awful and you buy the wrong things. Look at ways to reduce food waste. So looking at your portion sizes, freezing food. 

00:29:58 Gail Brown 

And if possible, have some plant based days 

00:30:02 Gail Brown 

However, the reality of being able to use these strategies is strongly dependent on your circumstances. In particular, the increasing common issue of food poverty can shift food related priorities from following a healthy, balanced diet to sourcing enough food each day just to get by. 

00:30:18 Fiona Spence 

I know, and you know the energy crisis which we are all aware of and concerned about and are affected by. It's having a massive impact on people, not just using your gas and electricity in your home, but your food costs are taking a hit to be able to pay these extortionate bills. 

00:30:34 Fiona Spence 

The rising cost of living, and it's just frightening. 

00:30:36 Gail Brown 

It's having a massive impact and I think that makes it even more important for us to learn how to be resourceful with what we have and how we use it. 

00:30:45 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely, and your top three tips for the listeners. So if we we've had a wonderful conversation today. But if we only had three, what would they be? 

00:30:54 Gail Brown 

It's really, really hard I think if possible and your circumstances allow for me to try for more home cooking, batch cooking, making extra and freezing portion. 

00:31:04 Gail Brown 

Means you don't have to use expensive sauces, but try planning your meals and your week planning your shopping is vital, and if you're a family, what does everybody have on that week? 

00:31:16 Gail Brown 

What meals are needed so you're not over buying or under buying, so there's not the quick trip nipping into the shops, and then you pick up even more stuff and it costs a fortune and I think being aware of food label. 

00:31:29 Gail Brown 

It's knowing the used by the best before dates. Understanding what foods are high in fat, sugars, salt as well, who is really important? 

00:31:39 Fiona Spence 

I think there is a huge amount of importance in our conversation today. GAIL, there are more people being affected by food poverty now than ever before, but I think for your own mental health, having a balanced diet as hard as it may seem to reach this, it's more achievable when you have the right resources and have the time to look into cheaper shopping. 

00:31:56 Fiona Spence 

You know, even something simple like could you get a delivery where it's free of charge to allow you to buy in bulk? 

00:32:02 Fiona Spence 

But considering your top tips as a great starting point, you know, one, do as much home cooking batch cooking as you can, two, planning your food, shopping weekly meals, three trying to get to grips with food labels again. 

00:32:16 Fiona Spence 

Take a look in the description below for some useful links. 

00:32:18 Fiona Spence 

Thanks, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you today GAIL. It's been really interesting and thank you for listening. 

00:32:25 Fiona Spence 

We look forward to welcoming you back to another podcast next month. 

00:32:28 Gail Brown 

Thank you for having me Fiona really enjoyed that and I hope today's podcast was useful and interesting 

00:32:34 Fiona Spence 

Thanks bye for now. 

00:32:35 Gail Brown 

Thanks bye.