Want to save some money and the environment? Stop throwing out food – these 5 tips to reduce food waste can help.
“Well, there goes the pasta with shrimp again. I mean how could I let this spoil, it’s SHRIMP!”
“Oh and those lentils they can’t be any good after a week.” (smells it) “Nope they’re not.”
“Well and that wilting spinach, I guess I didn’t make a green smoothie every day after all.”
I did have those thoughts at least once a week in the past. I’d buy groceries, do some meal prep and then I’d get more interested in eating out or making something else. After a week I’d discover that my fridge is full of old food I haven’t even touched. Not because it wasn’t delicious, but because I didn’t feel like eating it or because I had completely forgotten it was there.
This cost me a lot of time, money and sent me out on guilt trips that weren’t a lot of fun. Now that I’m a mom, I prepare even more food, so I am determined to not turn that food into food waste.
Here are seven simple things that have helped me reduce food waste.
1. Meal Plan
It’s not the coolest thing you can do, you won’t feel like the most fun spontaneous person to be around, but meal planning has actually helped me not only reduce food waste, but also stress and overwhelm.
What am I going to make for dinner? What is my toddler going to eat? Do I want to eat out that week? When? What do I need from the grocery store?
You answer all these questions once and stop guessing around during the week. You buy groceries once, maybe twice. And you save money.
And let me tell you, if you need to lose weight, like I do – planning those meals and sticking to the plan helps a lot. So decide what you’re going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, what you’ll need to buy and when you’re going to eat out.
2. Clean and Organize your Fridge Regularly
great idea (found here)
Make sure to clean out your fridge of anything that is expired and you know will not eat.
Listen. This sounds food-wasty, but it’s not. You feeling guilty and pretending that you’ll have that dressing that expired 2 months ago isn’t going to help you throw out less food.
Be honest with yourself. You don’t want to get food poisoning, clean your fridge and fill it with good food.
Make sure to organize your fridge, so that you can access and see everything that’s in there. This way, you won’t have bad surprises the next time you’re cleaning your fridge.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of old fruits and vegetables.
Just because those apples aren’t the freshest looking thing right now doesn’t mean you can’t use them. Transform them into something you’d like to eat.
Maybe apple pie, apple pancakes, apple cake – once you bake or sautee an apple you don’t really care whether it was fresh or an old one.
Same goes for bananas, spinach, broccoli, arugula, pumpkin – pretty much any non-moldy fruit or vegetable.
4. Freeze whatever can be frozen
If during the week you see you’re not going to eat something you bought or made, freeze it. You can use freezer bags or containers and can freeze almost anything that’s not a salad or a smoothie.
I personally like to freeze separate ingredients rather than entire meals. For example I chop and freeze spotty bananas, organges, grilled vegetables, broccoli, cooked chickpeas, lentils – pretty much anything.
This saves me a ton of money and time because I don’t need to cook or go grocery shopping that often.
5. Transform old meals into new ones
And finally, if you have cooked a meal, but don’t really feel like eating it two days in a row – make something new out of it.
For example if you have old chicken – you can easily turn it into this delicious Greek wrap by adding some herbs and spices. You can use old rice to make a risotto or fried rice.
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