Wednesday, November 18, 2020

$3 Per Day Grocery Challenge: Don't Waste Food

 Buy what you eat and eat what you buy.  

If you waste food, then you waste money.  The average household of four people wastes enough food to feed one person for a year.  That is basically wasting 25 percent or one fourth of your food each week.  

You can reduce food waste by Using up the food you buy and by not purchasing more than you can use.  

When I am on a tight budget, I find I don’t have a lot of trouble using up the food that is purchased.  I don’t have a lot of food waste, because we really try to be vigilant about eating what we have.  

Most of us don’t intentionally buy more food than we can use.  There may be a night that you planned on making a meal, but something comes up and you don’t get around to doing it.  Those ingredients sit in the fridge waiting until you have the time to use them.  There are occasional times where I have planned to use strawberries, green peppers or cilantro later in the week and they didn’t last as long as I hoped.  By trial and error, I have figured out how to use the food I buy in the best way possible.  I have learned that sometimes I need to freeze things that will spoil before I can use them.  I have also learned that I need to change my menu around sometimes and make the meals that use the ingredients that will spoil sooner.  When making meals, sometimes you have leftover food that you don’t eat that night.  We freeze any leftovers that we won’t be able to use in the next day or two. Later, We will pull out the frozen leftovers to use on busy nights or take them for lunch.  I try to rotate food in my pantry and check my freezer and dates on cans every three months.  If I can’t use something before it expires, I donate to the food bank or to someone else who can.   

Here are a few other ways to reduce food waste:

It is fun to try new recipes, but they don’t always turn out as well as you would like.  Find a way to make them palatable enough to eat, like drenching them in your favorite sauce for example, and don’t make that recipe again.  

If you have milk or buttermilk that is getting close to its ‘use by’ date, and taste sour, use it in pancakes or muffins. 

If you have peppers, onions, or other veggies that you can’t use in time before they spoil, cut them up and freeze them to put in meals later.  

If I have oranges or grapefruits that are on their last leg, juice them.  

Freeze extra milk or juice if it looks like there is more than you can reasonably use.

If you buy a whole chicken, save the carcass and make your own chicken broth.  It is healthier and saves money as well.  You can use it for soup or freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions to use in the future.

Freezing is a great option to avoid overeating or wasting food.  

Manufacturers have caught on to this and are selling bagged salad made from broccoli or cauliflower stems, etc.  They make money and waste less food.  

One of the best things you can do is to clean out your refrigerator before going grocery shopping each week.  See what is left over from the previous week and use it in meals for the coming week.  Remember, Buy what you eat, and eat what you buy.   If you waste food, you also waste money.  

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