Do you always seem to be throwing away food because you didn’t eat it fast enough? Is your grocery bill really high but you never seem to have any food at home? These tips will help you to waste less food and save money on your groceries in the process.
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Store Your Food Correctly
This will help your food last longer which means that you won’t have to throw it away as quickly. Storing your food properly will give you more time to actually consume it.
- Don’t store your onions and potatoes near each other.
- Don’t store fruits* and vegetables* in the fridge until after you have cut them open. Then store the leftovers in the fridge.
- *onions, potatoes, garlic, bananas, squashes, melons, tomatoes, citrus fruits
- Do store your bread in the fridge to help it last longer.
- Keep your spices away from light and heat. Whole spices last longer than crushed or ground spices. Airtight containers are best for storing spices.
- Store mushrooms in the original store packaging in the fridge. Once opened keep leftover mushrooms in the original container and cover with plastic wrap.
- Fruits and vegetables (not listed above) should be stored in the fridge but separate from each other. Do not wash your fruit until you are ready to eat it because the excess water will cause it to decompose quicker (finally procrastination pays off!!!).
- Keep cheese wrapped in cheese paper, wax paper, or parchment paper.
Meal planning is probably the best way to avoid wasting food in your home. Plan out what you will make and eat for each meal (or most of them). You don’t have to have a complicated system or notebook (unless that works for you). You simply need to make a list (somewhere… chalkboard, whiteboard, notebook, scrap paper, etc.).
Here is how meal planning works in my home and it is a very simple system.
- We make a list of the meals we want to eat for the next 4-6 days (on a chalkboard in our kitchen). We usually don’t plan out breakfast so that leaves 3-5 meals to plan. We assume that each meal will have some leftovers so that is why I do not plan for 8 meals in 4 days.
- After we make our meal list then we make our grocery list. I jot down our planned meals on the back of my grocery list so I remember what I’m shopping for.
Don’t go to the Store Every Day
Part of meal planning is being able to go to the store less often. I know what we are going to eat for the next 4-6 days so I go ahead and pick everything up while I am there. This will save a ton of money! It will also lead to wasting less food because you are forced to eat what is in your home instead of going to the store to buy even more.
Have leftover baked potatoes? Dice them up and fry them in a skillet for breakfast the next day.
Try to be creative on how you can remake your leftovers into new meals.
Brown Bag it to Work
I know it’s not fun and I know you don’t want to. But it will save you so much money and you will save yourself from wasting so much food! It’s also healthier.
Can’t eat or don’t want to eat all those leftovers? Throw them in the freezer.
Often, we buy 5 pounds of ground beef at a time because it is cheaper per pound than buying just one. We can easily eat 2-4 pounds and then the last 1-2 pounds of leftover beef just sits in our fridge until it goes bad. To keep this waste from happening we put it in a freezer bag and freeze it. It’s the perfect amount for cheeseburger soup or a casserole.
Substitute or Omit When Trying New Recipes
Having to cook gluten-free, I have gotten really good at omitting or substituting ingredients when cooking.
If you like to cook and try new meals (like myself) you are probably constantly on Pinterest scrolling and looking for new things to try. When I find a new recipe that I want to make I usually want to make it right now! But I don’t always have all the ingredients or it might call for an ingredient that I don’t usually buy.
A quick google search will usually tell what can be substituted for that item.
Here are the items I substitute most often:
- heavy cream, half & half, whole milk
- onions, shallots, green onion
- flour to corn starch (2:1 ratio; example 1 cup flour substitute for 1/2 cup corn starch)
- allspice, apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice–substitute for cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger
- sugar for maple syrup or honey
When your food does go bad or you have food scraps instead of just throwing it away, compost. It is super easy to do and it is fantastic for your garden or even your yard.
- coffee grounds
- tea bags
- fruit and vegetable scraps (i.e. tops of tomatoes, potato peels, banana peels, apple cores, etc.)
How do you keep from wasting food?