Terry Bennet, Founder of DoYourPart.org estimates that the average family throws out nearly one third of the food they buy. That percentage should be an eye-opener, but in case you didn’t do the math. Let’s say your family spends $600 a month on groceries. You may be throwing $200 worth in the trash (or compost bin). He suggests that part of the cause is that when we’re at the store, we really don’t know what we have at home, so we buy things we do not need and cannot use before spoilage sets in. By taking stock of what you have before you go to the store, and making comprehensive lists and STICKING TO THEM, you can cut down on this duplication and reduce the amount of food you waste.
A small deep freeze can cost as little as $200 and less than $50/year to operate. By freezing left overs in individual portions, you can not only reduce your food waste, but prepare healthy home-cooked meals that can be heated up in a hurry. I have had clients tell me that they thought they never had time to cook, working as many hours as they did, but by doing all of their cooking on the weekend and freezing dinners for the entire week, they were able to save hundreds per month and get healthier, by avoiding takeout.
Menus4Moms.com suggests setting aside a left-over night. You can use the leftovers from the week or repurpose them into something else. If you steam vegetables (fresh not canned), you can save the leftovers to puree to make your own baby food. Leftovers can be your friend no matter the portions remaining. If it’s not enough for an entrée at your next meal, maybe it’s enough to make up a side item or a kids portion.
Bulk buying is a great way to save money, but if you can’t use it all before it goes bad, you haven’t saved any money. In fact, you’ve wasted more. Only buy in bulk if you can use it or freeze it all before it goes bad.
One of the biggest things is to PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN. Plan all of your weeks meals in advance. Listen, no one wants to eat the same thing day after day and week after week, so change it up. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. Make it a family project. If you have kids, get them involved by letting them set the menu occasionally.
In researching this post, I discovered another great reason to reduce your food waste. It’s good for the environment. You see, apparently food that gets buried in the landfill doesn’t just compost like I thought it would. Instead it breaks down and can turn into methane gas. You learn something new all the time.