Twila E. Palmer's Blog
In the U.S. twenty pounds of food per person is wasted each month. That’s a lot of food. And when you’re trying to save money and stick to a budget that number can be disheartening. No one wants to throw their hard earned money away in the trash. Below are a few ways you can prevent food waste each week and save money in the process! Be prepared - Planning out meals ahead of time is key to avoid food waste. It not only helps prevent last-minute impulse purchases but it also helps you save money each time you take a trip. When you buy only what you need each item you purchase is guaranteed to be used up and avoid the trash bin. Take meal planning an extra step by choosing recipes that call for similar ingredients so you can buy in bulk and save. You can also create a list of go-to meals and their ingredients to have on hand for busy nights when you don’t have time to plan ahead. Include slots in your meal plan for leftovers throughout the week to make sure they are eaten before going to waste. In the store - Buy only what you need by including the amounts of each ingredient your recipes call for on your shopping list. If possible buy loose produce and from bulk bins to ensure you are only taking home what you really need. Buying in bulk is tempting and can seem like you are saving money, however, if you don’t use all of it up you are actually wasting money. Frozen veggies and fruits are a great option for those who never seem to be able to cook fresh produce before they start to go bad. Fill your cart with less and make more frequent trips to guarantee you only buy what you will truly need and use throughout the week. Before the store - Use up what is sitting in your cupboards and fridge before shopping. Look for recipes that include what you already have on hand and add them to your meal plan. Another great habit is to go through your pantry and take note of what needs to be tossed. By taking note of what ends up in the trash you will know when to buy smaller portions or to keep an item off your list. Be smart about use by and sell by dates before tossing something into the trash. Usually, these dates are a loose guideline that the manufacturer has decided upon. Do you research on best by and sell by dates to decide how long an item is really good for. During the week - Freeze portions of items you don’t use all at once of and can’t find in smaller portions. Make the most out of leftovers by having a weekly buffet night or using your creativity and repurposing them into a new meal. Fruit and vegetables that are on their way out can be frozen to be used for smoothies and juices or tossed into casseroles and soups. Practice smart fridge and freezer storage, drawers and shelves are labeled with their intended purpose for a reason! Preparing foods ahead of time for cooking and snacking will make them easier to reach for and more likely to move off of your fridge shelf before going bad. Keeping your fridge organized will also be more likely to be eaten. After all, out of sight out of mind and if something is pushed to the back it is more likely to be forgotten. Food waste is a big problem in our culture but it doesn’t have to be in your household. With some planning and organization, you can significantly cut back on how much food you throw away and save yourself money in the process. Happy saving!