These days, it’s more important than ever to reduce the amount of food wasted on a daily basis. We’ve all heard the term, “a penny saved is a penny earned”. Well, that’s never more true than when thinking about your grocery bill.
The worst part is that most people don’t even realize how much food they’re wasting. I know I didn’t! But with just a little planning, you can reduce your kitchen wastefulness, and save a lot of money too.
Here are some tips on how to cut back on your food waste, save money, and still get the nourishment and satisfaction you want and need.
Reduce waste with a Meal Plan
Making a meal plan doesn’t have to be tedious work. Sit down with your husband, and children, and think about favorite meals that you all enjoy on a regular basis.
Some families have found that using a portion of a Saturday or Sunday works best. That’s when they are most often together. Plan around work, school, and activities to best suit your family’s needs.
Reduce Overspending with a List
I never used to be big on shopping with a grocery list. However, now I rarely shop without one. The truth is, it not only helps you to be less forgetful, it can ensure you have the right quantities.
Writing out your shopping list after making your meal plan can help too. You’re less likely to purchase large amounts of food that isn’t even on your meal plan for the week.
Don’t be afraid to make notes on your list as to which stores are running sale prices, which stores price match, and whether you have coupons, shopper’s rewards, or other ways to save money. It takes a bit of work, but you can still save tons of money by breaking down your shopping experience this way.
Bulk Buying Can Save Money & Reduce Waste
It might seem counterintuitive to purchase in large quantities as opposed to buying less, but in reality, you can really save a lot of money this way. For instance, a small pack of chicken breasts might be priced at $1.99 per pound on sale. But you might also find the larger packs to be as little as $.69 per pound, depending on the cut of meat.
That means that by purchasing the large pack of chicken, you’re actually cutting you purchase price in half, or getting twice the meals than what you originally intended! If you know how to make your meat cuts stretch, for instance, by putting them in soups, stews, or casseroles, you might even triple or quadruple your money’s worth.
Scraps Don’t Have to be Wasted
Before you scrape away or throw out your leftovers, take a moment to think of what they could be used for in a future meal. Do you have meat bones or fragments that could be turned into broth or soup base? Can you store leftover veggies in a freezer container until you have enough for a large pot of soup or stew? Is there an extra serving of dinner that could be used at lunchtime the following day? It adds up quicker than you think!
What’s more, if you’ve peeled apples, don’t throw away the peels. Reduce your waste! Save them and make apple scrap vinegar, which I have done on many occasions, and it’s a wonderful alternative to apple cider vinegar. In fact, I made so much this past fall, I had to stop making it and freeze my apple peels for later!
Broccoli and cauliflower stems can be diced, frozen, and added to other dishes, especially stir-fry. And while we’re thinking about Asian dishes, remember to save leftover rice, peas, and broccoli, which can also be used to make a wonderful fried rice.
Consider Learning Food Preservation Methods
There’s nothing worse than purchasing fresh produce only to watch it sit on the counter or in your crisper and go bad! How much money do we throw away like that?
Food preservation can be as simple as blanching and freezing, which is the procedure for many fruits and vegetables. You can also freeze bread, wraps, leftover rice, and muffins, along with many other food items, for less waste.
Other methods do require a bit of investment and a little bit of a learning curve. Dehydrating and canning is an excellent way to use up large quantities of food, especially if you have a garden. If you have the financial means and the desire to look into it, I give both of these methods a HEARTY recommendation!
Throw it Away the Right Way
If you absolutely have to throw away food, the best way to reduce waste, especially if you’re a gardener, is to create a compost pile. Again, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the dos and don’ts, but it’s entirely worth it.
Compost piles break down organic materials that you can use to fertilize gardens, make potting soil, and a variety of other uses. Just remember to only toss in vegetable matter and never mix any foods that contain meat, meat fats, oil, or artificial sweeteners.
Share Your Thoughts
Do you have tried and true methods that you use to reduce food waste and save money on groceries? If you do, we’d love to hear about them! Drop a comment below so everyone can benefit!
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