Top 5 Ways to Cut Wasteful Food Spending
More than 25% of the food that Americans prepare gets thrown away, that’s money in the garbage can –that’s nearly one pound of food per person, per day!
That can easily change according to the US Department of Agriculture. The average family of four can save up to $1,500 a year just by changing how they plan their grocery store trip, how they divide portions and how they store and manipulate their leftovers.
Use these helpful tips as a guideline and become a family that wastes less food and saves more money.
Plan the week’s menus: This is not that hard; just take a few moments at night or when you have some down time and plan out what you will make for lunches and for dinner. You know what foods you and your family enjoy, so plan accordingly. Breakfast should be easy; a nutritious cereal or hard boiled eggs and wheat toast work fine.
A quick note here – while planning your menu think about meals that easily transition into leftover dishes; leftover vegetables turn into soups or omelets, steak or chicken into fajitas or tacos, etc. Get inspired; leftovers can be tastier than the original meal.
Make a shopping list: Once you have your menu planned, make out a list of all the ingredients. After you enter the store stick to your list, do not impulse buy, that leads to wasted money and food. And just because an item is on sale or two-for-one does not mean you have to buy it. If you do decide to buy something in bulk such as meat or vegetables, make certain you can separate the food and freeze in batches.
Cook according to perishable ingredients: Fresh fruits and vegetables will go bad quicker than frozen ones, so use the fresh up first. You can even redesign your fridge so that the food most likely to spoil is out in the open as a reminder.
Freeze in batches: If you have leftovers that you want to save freeze in batches, then you can easily take them from the freezer and reheat them. The various Tupperware and freezer bags on the market make this simple and you can reuse the Tupperware and bags to save more money.
Use portion control: Your family does not require heaping platefuls to survive. More food is thrown out because the serving sizes are simply too big, and all around America you can hear forks against plates as the uneaten food is scraped into the trash. Smaller portions are healthier and you can always freeze the leftovers.
And since it’s so close to Thanksgiving, think about planning your weekly meals in the spirit of the grand thanksgiving meal. You know your ingredients, you have your list and you shop for the meal. When thanksgiving is over you have a bounty of leftovers – turkey sandwiches topped with stuffing and cranberry sauce; turkey soup with leftover vegetables, turkey croquettes, creamed turkey and vegetables, mashed potato pancakes, and you freeze the rest.
Saving money and not wasting food is easy when you put your mind to it. Employ these tips and start enjoying home-cooked meals and the creative leftovers.
About the Author
The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.