900 words approx. 4 minute to read

Does anyone feel intense guilt at throwing away a too-far-gone loaf of bread, or that block of cheese that’s started to make its mark on everything else in the fridge? You know what I’m talking about…

Whether you’ve overestimated the weekly shop, bought a few unnecessary ingredients or just haven’t had the chance to get through it all, chucking food in the bin is all too easily done. But it shouldn’t be!

There are plenty of recipes that put everyday ingredients to good use, from low-fuss pasta dishes to feed-the-family bakes. So, I’m going to show you how to use some of the most-wasted food items in the UK.

1. Bread

Hands up if you’ve ever chucked a few slices of bread away before? The likelihood is you raised your hand, because bread is the most wasted ingredient in the UK. Yes, it’s cheap and goes stale relatively quickly, but that doesn’t mean it should be bought and binned in bulk. If you know you’re not going to get through a whole loaf, freeze half for later. Or, if it’s already gone stale, blitz into breadcrumbs and freeze that instead.

This vegan Kentucky fried cauliflower is one of the greatest things you can make with bread (in my opinion). And kids will love these breadcrumb-crusted fish fingers – simply serve with potatoes, salad and ketchup for an easy midweek meal. And for the grown-ups? Crispy and golden chicken Milanese is elegant and comforting at the same time.

2. Milk

If you’ve got milk, you’re already on the way to fish pie, macaroni cheese, scones, rice pudding, bread sauce and more. This crusted fish pie is perfect if you need to use it up quickly. And let’s not forget the fabulous family favourite, macaroni cheese. Check out this fiery twist made with jalapeños and a little paprika – you can have it on the table in 20 minutes too.

Fancy something sweet instead? Make an epic stack of pancakes for breakfast or dessert. Plus, there are plenty of ways to pimp a pancake: try this cookie dough creation, check out this sweet potato stack, or go all-out with these freakshake pancakes

Top tip: freeze milk in ice cube trays for popping straight into a hot drink.

3. Potatoes

Save your spuds! It can be tempting to throw potatoes in the bin if you notice them starting to sprout, but they’re still perfectly fine to eat. Simply remove the sprouts and remember to cut off any green or rotten bits before using. Voila – now, turn them into something delicious…


My favourite potato recipe has got to be this bangin’ Bombay potato curry, not least because it requires nearly a kilo of potatoes, which is great if I’ve got plenty to use. Or, serve up this herby roast potato dish as a smashing side with your next Sunday roast. You could always mash up spuds up with a little butter and milk to make this bean and fish finger pie too. It’s a real lifesaver if you’re trying to make it to payday.

Top tip: Keep potato peelings to make homemade crisps. Add salt and pepper, plus whatever seasoning you like, then bake in the oven.

4. Cheese

It’s useful to keep a block of cheese in the fridge for topping pies or pasta. However, there are so many types of cheese, each more suited to different dishes, and it can be tempting to get into a buy-and-use-once habit. So, here are a few cheesy recipes to make sure nothing goes to waste.

This oozy bowl of blue cheese and mushroom gnocchi takes 15 minutes to make and is sure to satisfy the soul. Or, how about this speedy goat’s cheese and walnut dish, which makes a great midweek dinner. Looking for something to impress? Have a go at this stunning cracker crust quiche, which uses a mixture of leftover cheeses (whatever you have to hand) in the tasty filling.

Top tip: Did you know you can freeze cheese? Simply store grated cheese in a sandwich bag or plastic box, ready to add to sauces or for topping pies and pasta bakes.

5. Bananas

We all know the drill: if your bananas are starting to turn spotty and black then it’s time to make banana bread. And while I’ll never knock a good old banana loaf (this breakfast loaf is a staple in my house) there are so many more ways to use this sweet fruit.

This banana curry blurs the lines between sweet and savoury, and is made with spices, toasted nuts and a little golden syrup. Already intrigued? Just wait until you taste it! When it comes to the sweet stuff, the sky really is the limit. Make these flourless banana bars for those who can’t eat gluten, or start your day with this date and banana smoothie bowl. This banana and chocolate crêpe cake is a bucket-list recipe you simply have to try, and if you’re a fan of a classic, this banoffee pie is the one for you.

Top tip: Blend peeled, frozen bananas in a food processor for a super-quick alternative to ice cream. Try blending with a couple of medjool dates for a caramel-like flavour.

Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date is the new brand powered by WRAP. Check out the website to learn about how wasting food contributes to climate change, and how we all have the opportunity to make a difference. Or, join in the conversation on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #StopWastingFood.

How do you like to make use of left-over food? Comment below and tell us.

Jess Collins
Food Policy Development Assistant

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Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. Hi. Your password reset email does not arrive no matter how many times i request it? Help!

    Debbie Flint

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    • Hi Debbie. I’m sorry to hear this. We will need to make sure we have your online account set up and an email address on our system. Can you please PM us your full postal address, membership number, DOB and the email address you would like to use to set your account up. We will then email you the relevant links to get this sorted. Thanks. ^Jamie

  2. Made beef stew in the slow cooker yesterday (stewing beef, onion, a carrot, parsnip and turnip with stockcube, thickened with a spoon of cornflour at the end). Served With potatoes. Today added chili and tin of kidney beans to the leftovers reheated thoroughly and served with rice. 2 substantial meals little effort and no waste 😋

  3. Just had a sausage and mushroom chilli – made from leftover sausage 👍

  4. Really good ideas. Definitely going to try these out.

  5. Very interesting read

  6. I don’t eat white bread but my husband likes toast made with it. I never buy bread, always make my own, use it fresh at first then slice & freeze the rest. Potatoes never get wasted, fruit & veg very rarely as I chuck any past its best veg in the soup maker. Had a glut of tomatoes this year so I washed & dried the surplus, open froze them, so their bagged & ready for pasta sauces etc. No need for waste

  7. 😆 ^Hannah

  8. Nice post. But I don’t think there has ever been a leftover potato in our house….

  9. What a very useful item this was, I am going to file it!



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