Recipe Tips and Swaps for the 2023 Food Shortage

Recipe Tips and Swaps for the 2023 Food Shortage - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

You may have noticed supermarket shelves looking emptier than usual recently. With climate issues in Europe, the rising costs of farming and British producers struggling to meet demand, we’re in a bit of a pickle! The good news is that you don’t have to stop eating well, even if you can’t find your favourite fresh ingredients.

By experimenting with swaps, making the most of what you already have and meal planning, there are affordable, creative ways to eat your way around the shortage. We’ve rounded up some easy hints and tips to get you started!

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Ingredients affected by the shortage

Salad bowl staples like cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce are especially affected by the shortage, as are broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Eggs are also running lower than usual too, but there are alternative ways to prepare your favourite egg recipes and veggie-filled meals.

The egg shortage is a golden opportunity to try using mashed bananas while baking. A common swap for vegan-friendly pancake recipes, there’s no harm in giving it a whirl next time you’re flipping our Banana and Chocolate Pancakes (we haven’t tested this yet, so if you try it, please let us know how it goes!).

Banana and Chocolate Pancakes - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Egg replacer powder or liquid is also available at most supermarkets, or on Amazon. To replace eggs, just make sure you closely follow the packet instructions.

While the shops are running low on fresh stock, it’s as good a time as any to show some love to your store cupboard and stockpile tinned versions of your favourite fruits and veggies. 

If you’ve not got the right veggies, you can always turn to long-forgotten tinned beans and pulses for a nutritious boost. Our Baked Bean Bolognese is a store-cupboard dream, and you can easily swap out the carrots and peppers for frozen alternatives.

Baked Bean Bolognese - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Making the most of what you already have

Planning your meals for the week means you’re far less likely to stray off track and reach for less healthy, convenience food options, and it’ll reduce your food waste too. You’ll also be better organised and far less dependent on needing to buy fresh ingredients.

When you’re sitting down with your Family Meal Planner (if you’ve not got a copy, you can grab one here), take stock of what needs using from the fridge-freezer first. When you can defrost batch-cooked portions of a midweek favourite, you’re already covered for busier evenings.

Rifle through your veg drawer and see which fresh greens and fruits you can write into your plan. If you’ve got lonely-looking individual veggies, you can always chop them up into small pieces and store them in a freezer bag

They’re a convenient, grab-and-cook way to make up for low-stock veggies in warmers like Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Stew, casseroles or soups. 

When you’re chopping fresh veg, bag your scraps and offcuts too! They’re perfect for preparing flavoursome stocks.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Stew - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

You’ll want to invest in easy-peel freezer labels that’ll help you stay organised. Keeping a record of when you froze your food is important to keep your family safe (always refer to NHS freezing guidelines, if you’re unsure).

Making ingredient swaps at lunchtime

A filling, nutritious lunch is key to making the most of your afternoon, and there’s no reason the food shortages should stop you enjoying the salads you tend to fill your tupperware with. 

Even if there are a number of low-stock ingredients in our Herby Lemon Chicken Salad, you don’t have to take it off the table. 

If you can’t find lettuce but you can get hold of spinach or kale, they’ll both make for a tasty, fibre-filled swap. 

Replacing tomatoes is trickier, but not impossible! Since tomatoes are there to add a refreshing burst of sweetness, see how you go with chopped grapes instead. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Herby Lemon Chicken Salad - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

You can always try and combat the shortage by preparing recipes where every ingredient is in strong supply. With our Spicy Braised Beef Salad, you can tick off just about everything on the list apart from cabbage.

We’d say now’s the time to introduce yourself to another member of the cabbage family, if you haven’t met them already: pak choi. Far more subtle in flavour but just as crunchy and satisfying, we think you’ll love this leafy green in your salads and stir-fries.

Spicy Braised Beef Salad - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Cooking dishes with fewer ingredients is simple to do from time to time. Our warming Ham, Leek and Potato Soup only needs a total of five ingredients, low-calorie cooking spray included.

If you find yourself in a bind trying to buy leeks, don’t worry. You can use just about any type of onion as a replacement (we’d say spring onions make for the closest swap).

When it comes to staving off the cold and preserving your favourite veg combos, you’ll never regret keeping a few freezer-friendly soup portions on standby. We’ve got plenty more batch-friendly soup ideas for you here.

Ham, Leek and Potato Soup - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Our Quick Kimchi Style Slaw is good for your gut and good for your budget, by leaving vegetables to ferment so that you can enjoy them two weeks later.

Our vinegar blend is so punchy, it’ll work with just about any combination of freshly-shredded veg. This recipe uses cucumber, but you can easily swap in courgette, celery or double up on radishes if it’s too hard to find.

Quick Kimchi Style Slaw - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Making ingredient swaps at dinnertime

When it comes to making hearty, slimming-friendly dinners, there’s always something different you can throw into the pot to make up for any hard-to-find ingredients. 

Fresh peppers are a hugely-popular veg, and it might feel strange having to cook without them if your local shop’s running low. While frozen peppers aren’t quite as crunchy as fresh once they’re thawed and cooked, they’re still worth picking up if you spot a ready-chopped mixed bag in the freezer aisle.

To make our Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Pasta even quicker and easier to put together, we use jarred roasted red peppers instead of fresh. Make sure you buy a jar that’s preserved in vinegar, rather than oil, to avoid the extra calories.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

If you’re making saucy or gravy-based bakes where key vegetables are missing, there’s no better place to experiment with new ingredient combos. Carrots are in shorter supply than usual, but their absence doesn’t have to be felt in our Cottage Pie.

Butternut squash, swede and parsnips are good alternatives for carrots, and fussy eaters won’t know the difference.

Cottage Pie - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

We use broccoli in lots of different dishes, and we’re grateful there are a few different ways you can replace it.

If we’ve not got stalks and florets to stir into our Chinese Chicken and Broccoli dish, it doesn’t spoil our fun on fakeaway night. We’ll add a dash of leafy green with a flourish of kale or crunchy green beans instead.

Chinese-Style Chicken and Broccoli - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Roast dinners aren’t quite the same without all the trimmings, and with cabbage and leeks in short supply, it might be trickier than usual to add a touch of luxury by serving our Creamy Cabbage and Leeks on the side.

Many of us don’t look to sprouts outside of the festive season, and yet they’re absolutely delicious year-round. You can shred them and bathe them in low-fat cream cheese as a cabbage stand-in, or you can add Creamy Garlic Sprouts to your menu. 

Far from boring, coat your trusty Brussels in a garlicky, creamy sauce and top them with Parmesan cheese. They’re a game-changer!

Creamy Garlic Sprouts - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Do you have any tips or swaps to share?

At Pinch of Nom, we’re all about helping each other out. If you’ve got any tips or swaps you’d like to share with our incredible community, please do! 

We’ve got almost 1 million members in our Facebook group – it’s a safe space to ask any questions (our lovely team of moderators will get back to you as soon as they can!), talk about your slimming journey or just have a friendly chat.

If you liked this article, you’ll love exploring our blog. Browse for inspiration on recipe ideas, kitchen equipment, money-saving tips and LOADS more.



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