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Top tips for shopping and cooking smarter

The cost-of-living squeeze means more of us are cooking at home and planning our meals in advance. We share some tips for shopping smarter and really making the most of those meal plans.

More New Zealanders are cooking from scratch and planning meals in advance

Take stock of your pantry and freezer

The best thing you can do for your food budget is to go through your pantry and freezer and make a note of what you already have. This will save buying duplicates of some ingredients or wasting others.

Work with what you’ve got

Once you’ve finished that stock take, plan meals around what’s in your cupboards, then make a shopping list for any other ingredients you might still need.

Get creative with leftovers

Try a few recipes that lend themselves to a spectacular second act. For example, a big roast chicken one night could be used to make a chicken noodle soup the next, while pulled pork or beef can be served with salads and rice one night, then wrapped in soft tortillas the next. You can get creative with other leftovers, too, turning them into soups, rice bowls or pizza.

Select in-season produce

Make sure to plan meals using produce that’s in season, as it will likely be much cheaper. Frozen vegetables are also a good option.

Keep an eye out for bargains

As well as stocking up on a few more of the pantry basics when they’re on special, try doing your shopping towards the end of the day – supermarkets will often mark down goods at that time to move them off their shelves.

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