Do you find yourself throwing out perfectly good food, on a weekly basis, either because you just didn’t get around to eating it or you forgot it was in the fridge? Or worse, have you found yourself looking for something in your fridge, that you JUST KNOW is in there, but you can’t find it…only to come across it a week later rotting in the back of your fridge in a nook and cranny somewhere? Girl! Been there!
Patrick and I struggled with this for a very long time. We did improve little by little, over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that we figured out a system, that we implement on a weekly basis, that helps us to limit the amount of food waste that we have.
I wish we would have realized these things sooner. They definitely would have saved us from wasting so much money, but I’m glad that we know them now. If you are in the same boat and find that your family is wasting a lot of food, I wanted to share some things that can help you solve that problem.
How To Avoid Food Waste |Tips That Work!
Tip #1: Meal Plan
As you may already know, I am a big believer in meal planning. Not only does it save time and money, but it also helps to avoid food waste. Meal planning allows us to buy only what we need at the grocery store. Without a plan, most of us end up walking aimlessly through the grocery store picking up things that we “think” we need, which often leads to us overbuying. Grocery shopping, without meal planning first, tends to lead to food waste.
Tip #2: Avoid Impulse Buys
Even if you meal plan, you still need to be strategic about what you buy to avoid food waste. One trap that is easy to fall into is impulse buying sale items. I used to be guilty of buying lots of items, because they were on sale, with no plan for when or how I would use them. We all want a good deal right?
The reality of the situation is that extra food has to be stored somehow. I found that when we buy too many extras, that are not on our list, we are setting ourselves up to have to throw a lot of it away later. I had to realize that although it may be a good deal at the time, if we end up not being able to eat it before it goes bad, essentially we have wasted money, not saved it. It’s important to stick to your grocery list closely and really limit impulse buys if you want to avoid food waste.
Tip #3: Prep Fruits, Vegetables, And Herbs
I don’t know about you, but for me washing and drying produce can be a hassle sometimes. I have learned that it is a lot easier to do if it’s done as soon as we bring it home from the store. If we take the extra step and prep it ahead of time, not only do we eat more of it, but inevitably it’s not wasted.
I highly recommend that you wash and dry your produce ahead of time. It’s also really helpful if you take the extra step and cut up your produce too.
Tip #4: Keep An Inventory Of What’s In Your Fridge
This is something that we started doing pretty recently, but it has been a complete game changer! We started keeping an inventory of everything that we have in our fridge. We keep two inventory lists: one that lists cooked food, fresh produce, and things that go bad within the week like, deli lunchmeat and cheese. After listing all of them, we put the date we cooked or purchased each item.
The second inventory we keep is one for items that do not go bad quickly, like condiments and milk. On this inventory, we write the name of each item along with its expiration date. Keeping an inventory of everything in your fridge may seem like an extreme thing to do, for some people, but it really does make a difference. Whether you think it’s an extreme thing to do or not, if you find yourself wasting a lot of food, I highly encourage you to try it out.
Tip #5: Freeze Leftovers Or Things Approaching The Expiration Date
Our freezer has become so important to us and is so helpful when it comes to avoiding food waste. If you follow all four of the tips above and find that you still have food on the brim of going bad, your freezer is the answer! If you haven’t gotten into the habit of freezing food, you’ll want to start ASAP. You can freeze food and pull it out when you need it in the future. Freezing food is so simple, but it really does help with food waste.
Avoiding food waste takes intentionality. Give these tips a try and let me know what you think. I’m sure that you’ll be amazed at how well they work when implemented.
P.S. If you still haven’t gotten your free 7 Steps To Simple Meal Planning Checklist, you should really grab it. It’s a great guide that will not only get you started meal planning, but it’ll keep you focused throughout the entire process.
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