A wise friend once told me that the most expensive item in my kitchen is the food that gets thrown out! Throwing away food is like throwing away money! It’s something that I’ve really been working on for the last few months. It’s so easy to throw out food that you forgot about that has gone bad at the back of the fridge. But you can save so much money by not wasting food. So I wanted to share some of my best tips for reducing food waste at home and as a result, saving money.
5 Tips For Reducing Food Waste at Home
1.Use Your Freezer
One of my biggest tips for not wasting money on food is to use your freezer.
I don’t know how many times, in the past, I have put meat in the fridge after grocery shopping only to forget about it. When I get home from the grocery store I automatically portion my meat into freezer bags and put it in the freezer, so I don’t even have a chance to forget about it.
Now if I have a little bit of an ingredient leftover from a recipe I put it in an appropriate container, mark what it is and the date on the outside and it goes into the freezer. I use this a lot for tomato sauce.
We eat our leftovers but sometimes there’s not enough leftover for a whole meal but enough that you don’t want to throw it away – I put that into the freezer also. Like sometimes I have one slice of pizza left so I wrap that up and into the freezer it goes. Every month I have a clean out the freezer lunch where we have a buffet of little leftover items.
I freeze the ends of bread or bread that we don’t get too before it goes stale. I have a post about what you can do with leftover bread here.
I freeze fresh fruit that needs to be used up and use it frozen in breakfast smoothies. I also do this with fruit that turns out to be not too tasty (you know, like that rock hard melon). It still has nutrients even though it doesn’t taste good.
You’d be amazed at all the things you can freeze!
2. Use Your Leftovers
I can’t tell you how many times we eat leftovers in our home. I see no point in wasting it. I’ve found that leftovers are key to helping us not waste food and save money. If your family isn’t a big fan of leftovers, stick to meals they love and won’t mind eating double doses of or reinvent your leftovers into a new dish.
Also storing leftovers in see through containers helps a lot! If you don’t have those types of containers you could put a piece of masking tape on the top and mark what they are and the date. If you really don’t think they’ll be eaten in a timely manner freeze them.
I’ve found that having a designated shelf for leftovers so that I (and everyone else in this family) knows where to look for them works. That way they don’t get shoved into that black hole that is the back of the refrigerator!
3. Meal Planning
If you’re just going to the store and buying whatever you want, you’re wasting food and money. I always try to take the time to do a quick inventory & meal plan so that I’m not wasting our food budget. That way I see what I have and know what I have to use up. You know, I’m not perfect with this but I’ve found it very helpful to meal plan and make the most of the food that I do purchase.
4. “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” Recipes
Have a few “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipes in your repertoire. These are recipes where you can just throw in all kinds of things that are in danger of going bad like soups, stews, stir fry and omelettes/frittata. Also smoothies are good for both fruit and leafy greens that you have to use up.
5. Organized Fridge
It’s easy to “lose” food in the fridge isn’t it? I’ve found that having a designated shelf for certain things helps me remember what I have. For example we have a shelf for leftovers that I plan on using for lunch or reworking into another meal. We have shelf for produce, a part of a shelf for milk, creamer, yogurt and so on. I have a storage container just for cheese. This way I (and everyone else in this family) knows where to look for certain items.
You could use a bin to hold food that you want eaten first and label it that. I use this method with fruit that I know is not going to last long (like berries or melons vs. apples & oranges).
When we get lazy about cooking and storing food, we lose money. I know I can’t be on my best game all the time, but I really try to work my hardest in the area of no-food-waste. I hope you’ve find my 5 tips helpful!
What do you do to help reduce food waste in your home?
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