Preventing food waste is essential for saving money. I don’t intend to waste food but sometimes things come up, a night out with the girls at a local restaurant, or the kids wanting takeaway. It’s hard to avoid a change in plans, yet having little habits in place for cooking can reduce the amount of food that goes to waste in your house each week.
Have a Plan
Set aside time to plan meals. Do this by creating shopping lists. This means you will only be buying the necessities, what you know you will cook with and consume. Also, look in the freezer, fridge and pantry for items that you currently have so you don’t double up and therefore potentially double the waste production.
Understand and Organize Produce by Freshness
If you have dairy produce such as cheese, yoghurts and milk that have an upcoming expiration date, place them in a designated area where they are visible and more likely to be consumed. By placing older foods at the front of the fridge and pantry, you’ll be reminded and motivated to use them.
Use the Freezer
If you have an excess of food, freeze it before it turns bad. I tend to freeze leftovers such as soups and casseroles, main meals that can be thawed out another time for dinner and lunch. I like to freeze loaves of bread too. I just love those deals where you can buy two loaves of bread for a better price than just one!
Wash and Prepare Ingredients
Before I put my groceries away, I like to assess what I bought and what I’m going to cook with first. I clean and prepare them, then sort them into Tupperware in preparation for the week ahead.
Have a Label System in Place
Label leftovers so you don’t find yourself umming and ahhing over what this mystery container is! Another handy tip is to write the expiration dates on labels making them more visible than the ones on the products that you have to squint at 5cm away from your face.
Remember: The most expensive item in your grocery shopping is the thing you threw out.
What do you do to prevent food waste?