How To Stop Wasting Food And Start Saving Money Instead
Food waste is a big problem and many of us throw away a lot of food every week. It’s simply wasteful — it’s wastes resources, energy, food and money. I do what I can to avoid wasting food and the following things really work for us.
- Plan Your Shop & Your Meals
A shopping list is a great way to stay focused and will help you avoid buying things that you might not need. I’m not super strict and will sometimes have a list and sometimes not, but I always have a plan for what meals we will be having. I’m flexible with snacks, fruits and vegetables and things like that and will buy things that I think are good value or look good. I will not stock up on loads of things just because they’re on offer. I will only do this if it’s something that is long lasting (like coffee) and something I know we will consume.
- Take Care of Your Leftovers
We love leftovers! They keep costs down and make preparing the next meal a breeze but you have to look after them correctly. Cool them down quickly and pack them away in the fridge in food storage boxes. I love using glass food containers with lids as they are sturdy, last longer than plastic, don’t contain any chemicals and can be put straight in the oven or microwave when you want to reheat your leftovers.
If you have too many blueberries or too much grated cheese and know you will not be able to use it all before it goes off, just freeze it while it’s fresh and use for something else in the near future. I love doing this with berries and bananas — the frozen fruit works really well in smoothies! Grated cheese is always handy to have in the freezer too for omelettes, quesadillas, pasta bakes or other delicious cheesy meals. For things like this I like using resealable and reusable heavy duty fridge bags that can stand up to save space. Because you can wash them and use them again, there’s no packaging waste either which is even better!
Buying frozen vegetables instead of fresh is a great way to reduce waste. A lot of the food that gets thrown away is vegetables that have seen better days. They go off so quickly! We mainly buy frozen vegetables and just get out exactly what we need for each meal which ensures that there’s no waste. Our favourite frozen vegetables are broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, peas, sweetcorn and spinach. They’re actually better for you too as they’re frozen as soon as they’ve been picked unlike “fresh” vegetables that have been travelling and then laid on a shelf for days or weeks.
- Have a Clear Your Cupboards Week
Once in a while, have a week where you try to use up the things you already have at home in your cupboards, fridge or freezer. Be creative and make things up or browse online to find new recipes to cook with what you already have at home. You might need to buy a few ingredients, but try to use as much as possible that is already available in your house. I have a Pinterest board where I save recipe ideas for when I don’t know what to cook or want to make something new.
Hope these tips are helpful for you too!