Food waste is a big conversation, but I’m finding there aren’t an awful lot of practical tips to address it, so here are some things that I actually do. I am still giggling about my recent encounter with frozen hard boiled eggs after being gone for an extended period of time on vacation and for work trips. I wanted to try it to see for myself what would happen. There are other ways to save eggs that I like better. Besides the great tips in this resource, I’ll make a casserole or other dish and freeze that.
Trying things once that may end up as a disaster will likely help you manage food waste for years to come. I’m not suggesting you do weird things with no purpose because food waste is a terrible thing. I’m suggesting curiosity and confidence to try something new. Here are a few of my favorite tips, all of which can help manage food waste.
Whatever you think you need for the next week or two without actually planning for it, you’re going to be off one way or another. Count how many times a week on average you eat something before buying it. Consider other uses if you have extra. Take a moment to make a plan for the “what ifs” – what if I have leftovers? What if I buy too much? What if I don’t buy enough? Learn about portions, what you can and cannot freeze, etc. I have frozen all kinds of stuff because of my schedule and household size. Freezing cheese is one of my favorites. It makes it super easy to shred my own, which I like to do.
Stocking up on pantry goods without a plan just means you have ingredients. Snap a photo of your favorite recipe. Take a picture of your pantry, freezer and fridge, too – then you can review what you already have when you wander into the store after work. Planning can be as easy and random as you want it to be. Find recipes that use what you buy, and stock up on things you absolutely know you will eat. For me, it’s boxed chicken stock, canned tomatoes, beans, and mushrooms, pasta, rice, and natural peanut butter. There are other things too, but for sure I know I’ll use these items regularly.
You may not remember the date you opened something unless you write it down. Take a moment to write on the lid or package when you opened it. This works great, even for dry herbs/spices. If you are dusting your spices, you probably need to go through them and freshen up. 😉
Yes, you do want a cooler with an ice pack in the trunk before going out to eat or grocery shopping. Easy solution for food safety and avoiding waste.
Grocery shopping is fun. Cooking is fun, and eating is first and foremost essential to life, but it’s fun, too. Rethink your approach as you need to and celebrate the great solutions you already have in place.