$20 billion worth of food goes into the bin every year. That number is staggering. This amounts to approximately $3800 for each household. When you consider what else you could use that money for (other bills, a holiday, save) it is important to reassess how you shop, when you shop and what you do with the food when you get home.
Over the past decades we have become complacent when it comes to, not only the food we eat, but also how we regard the food we buy. If we don’t want it or forget to eat it or are unsure of how to cook it then chances are it ends up in the bin when it could potentially be eaten at a later date or even given to someone who may need a nice meal.
Let’s change the way we buy our food, store it and utilise it. The following top 10 tips will help you to eat more (of the good stuff), waste less and save you money.
1. Meal plan once a week. Write a list and stick to it when grocery shopping, this way you won’t buy unnecessary items which may end up in the bin. You know exactly how much to buy for each recipe/meal so by the end of the week your fridge will be fairly empty with no sad produce waiting to be eaten.
2. If you find a bargain at the supermarket ask yourself:
- “Do I really need this item?”
- “Am I going to use it before the sell by date?”
- “Will this product actually last beyond the sell-by/use-by date?”
- “Do I know how to cook/bake with it so I will actually use it?”
- “Am I going to waste my money buying this product?”
3. Cut up any fruit such as watermelon, rockmelon and pineapple the same day you buy it and put it in containers for easy access. If the fruit is ready to go you will be more likely to eat it instead of looking at in the fridge and telling yourself you must cut it up. Do the same for veggies. They can be used as a quick snack when you are feeling peckish or thrown into a meal for lunch or dinner when you don’t have a lot of time.
4. A stir fry is a delicious, nutritious and quick way to use a lot of veggies at once. If your veggie draw is full of veggies which are starting to wilt chuck them in a stir-fry. Or, alternately, find recipes which use lots of veggies such as casseroles, veggie pie or salads.
5. Utilise your freezer. There really is not much that can’t be frozen. If you buy in bulk or end up with a little too much of one item, cut it up and freeze it. Sometimes you can find great bargains at the supermarket so why not take advantage and freeze what you won’t be using any time soon.
6. Cook in bulk. If you have one day available every week, fortnight or month spend it cooking in bulk. Use up all your items in the fridge you can and make some delicious and nutritious meals for those nights when you are running short on time, taxi-ing the kids from one activity to another or you get home late and need something quick. Simply pull a meal out of the freezer in the morning ready for dinner time.
7. Love your leftovers. This will not only save you money by not wasting any food but your time can be better spent doing something other than cooking. Personally, I love cooking and baking and discovering new recipes but I know not everyone is the same. So, instead of cooking every single night cook 1 meal which can last you another 2 times. Either for lunch or dinner. If you know you won’t be eating your leftovers in the next 2 days, freeze it!
8. Compost your food. Buy a compost and some worms and feed them your waste. For more tips on how to compost correctly click here.
9. Ask neighbours if they would like to share your meals. Not everyone is able to cook each day/night. You could start a neighbourhood cooking club where you share meals.
10. Expiration dates, though strict for food sellers, doesn’t not have to be so strictly adhered to once you get home. By this I mean check the food first before throwing it out. Dairy and meat products should be given a bit more care but other items can last for another 1-4r weeks before they are unsuitable for eating. I bought carrots marked down from the supermarket and 3 weeks later they were still crunchy and delicious. Use your eyes, nose and personal judgement on whether the food is ok to eat. Of course, you do not want to give yourself or anybody else food poisoning so please be careful but not wasteful.
If you would like to learn more about shopping healthy, avoiding waste and cutting through the supermarket BS, I am running a healthy supermarket shop tour on the 20th November in Pimpama. You can book your tour with me HERE.
I would love to see you there.