How To Make Food Waste A Thing Of The Past

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Food waste is an issue that everybody faces, but there are solutions! These tips for making food waste a thing of the past will not only help food out of the landfills, but will keep more money in your pocket!How To Make Food Waste A Thing Of The Past

Food is a necessity for everyday life. You cannot live without it – and you’re constantly trying not to buy too much or too little. But you have to eat!

With three meals and snacks throughout the day, there is typically a lot of food to have to purchase and prepare. You shop at the grocery store with the best of intentions, bring it all home and put it away. Then at the end of the week, there is nothing worse than having to throw a lot of that fresh food away. Here are some tips to help you stop wasting food – and wasting money!

Plan Your Meals

The number one best way to make sure that you stop wasting food is to plan your meals. Before making your shopping list, do your best to predict who will be home for dinner on which nights, as well as what lunches and breakfasts will need to be made. If you don’t give the week some thought, it’s incredibly easy to over-prepare by purchasing too much food.

Over preparing generally leads to items getting shoved into the back of the refrigerator and forgotten about. Think about all of the months that you find tubs of yogurt, produce, and other dairy all the way in the back, just waiting for the garbage can. Prevent this unfortunate situation by really thinking through what you will need before heading to the store.

Have a Plan for Leftovers

If you do end up with leftovers, be sure to put them right in the front of the fridge. Don’t let them get shoved to the back or they will become a casualty of over preparation.

Even better, consider making a little bit extra for dinner each night and turn one night of the week into a “leftovers” meal. That means that you don’t have to cook and everything gets eaten! If that doesn’t work for your family, make sure that leftovers get taken to school or work for lunch and that Tupperware gets returned home for the next round. (Having a Tupperware set with different sizes is a key to making this work!)

Make a Deal – and Stick to It

At the beginning of each week, make a deal with yourself about when you will be eating leftovers and when you will eat out. Eating out is extremely appealing, especially when times are busy, but it absolutely contributes to food waste.

Each and every Sunday (or whatever day you plan your meals for the week), look at your own schedule as well. Decide what days are going to be “leftovers for lunch” days and which you will eat out. After that, your job is keeping your word to yourself. Do the same with your partner and kids if this kind of scenario also works for them!

Prepare Freezer Meals

Freezer meals are the best for when you are looking to use up all of the food you’ve purchased. Prepare some meals ahead of time and freeze them in single serve portions. This will allow you to grab them when you want them and heat up exactly what you need. Serving two people from the freezer meal selections? Grab two portions and you’re good to go! (Using same sized containers like these make it easier to stack in the freezer.)

A good rule of thumb is to move freezer meals onto the table within two to three months. Because of this, you may want to date the containers that you are putting in the freezer so that you know how long each one has been in there. Every week, check the freezer to see if there is something “coming due” and figure that into your meal plan. This will help you keep your freezer clear for more items and save you money from having to buy new groceries for that night’s dinner.

Google Is Your Friend

Are you finding things in your fridge that you just don’t know what to do with? Google is your best friend in these situations. Pick three ingredients that you aren’t sure how to use together (for example: chicken, canned tomatoes, cheese) and explore some recipes!

You’ll want to go into the week with your meal plan, but we all over-buy sometimes. We find ourselves with an extra tomato, potatoes or a Buy One, Get One sale on chicken, so we went ahead and bought two. There are ways to use up these ingredients before they go bad, you just need to do the research.

Use a Vacuum Sealer

The best tool for making food last longer is a good vacuum sealer. I use a Foodsaver along with bags. This is a machine that actually seals your food into a bag and pulls all of the air out in order to make the food last longer.

All kinds of foods can be kept fresh longer when you use a vacuum sealer. If you purchase large quantities of nuts at a store like Costco, separate them into three bags, seal them all and only open each one when you are ready for your next batch. This works for produce, meat, dairy and most other kinds of foods as well. Sealing your food can extend the freshness for a week up to several months depending on the type of food that you are sealing.

Donate to Food Banks

We all have cans of veggies and boxes of cereal in our pantries that we have forgotten about. Clean out your cupboards every few months and decide if you will really use it. If you don’t have a plan for the item within the next week or two, donate the food to someone who can use it.

Most areas have food banks or donation pantries, so take a look around your area. If you still can’t find anything, ask your local church, temple or mosque if they have families that could use the food instead. There is always someone who is in more need than you are, so taking the opportunity to gift some extra food is a situation in which everyone can benefit.

It is extremely easy to waste food when you go shopping while hungry, don’t have a plan, and find things on sale. You can get mad at yourself for wasting food and money again or come up with a plan. Don’t feel bad, just do better next time! Food can stretch a lot further than you think it will, you just have to know how to manage what you have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *