Food Wasting

1 Apr

Food waste is not frugal. After all you paid for that food, so tossing it is basically like tossing money in the trash. I’ve started paying closer attention to how much food I throw out and it’s really helped me. I encourage you to take notice too, whether it’s a food waste journal or just taking mental note. Think of that bread crust, half eaten apple, cup of milk left out all night and moldy cheese, and then try to figure how much it all cost. The Frugal Girl every Friday on her blog posts pictures of her food waste to be an incentive to waste as little as possible.

Now let’s see some common reasons food is wasted, and some strategies to avoid it:

“My kid’s don’t eat everything off their plates.”

  • Make them. As a kid I always thought it strange when I saw other people not finish their food. We always had to, and didn’t think twice about it. Teach them to only get small amounts and they can always have seconds later.
  • Save it for later. As I’ve started paying more attention to the food thrown in our trash, I noticed a big chunk of it was from our 2 year old. So when she wouldn’t finish something I started putting it in the fridge and offering it to her later. This has saved us a lot of food. Sometimes she puts the food in the fridge herself and announces, “it for later.”

Uneaten Leftovers

  • Serve a “Buffet of Favorites” once a week, featuring all the leftovers. BONUS: the cook gets a break that night!
  • Eat leftovers for lunch the next day. I do this a lot, and if you’re in a habit of eating lunch out, this is way cheaper!
  • Learn how to re-cook leftovers. This is a good idea if you don’t want to eat the same thing 3 days in a row. Check out my post How to use up leftovers to get some ideas.

Food Goes Bad Before You Get a Chance to Eat it

  • Learn how to store food right (particularly fresh produce)
  • Check to see what’s in your fridge every couple days, so you know what needs to be eaten.
  • If something is bad salvage the good part if you can. See my Grocery/Menu post where I cut mold off of a loaf of bread and was able to make a large casserole with the remaining bread.

My final solution is to plan, plan, plan. If you have a menu plan you can shop accordingly and have a specific meal you plan on using each thing you buy, therefore making unnecessary leftovers less likely. You can also plan on eating meals made from leftovers. For example, every time I plan on making chili, I plan on having baked potatoes and chili that same week to use up any leftover chili.

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