We are two weeks into our minimizing food waste challenge. By now you should have identified the problem and took some steps to minimize the food waste coming from your fridge. Today we’re going to talk about how to minimize food waste by grocery shopping smart. AKA how to buy less, and use more!
The overall plan will be to bring in less food, and to set up a plan for the food you do bring in. To do this we are going to focus on knowing what we have in our kitchens and grocery shopping and meal planning around it.
Knowing what’s on hand.
One really good way to minimize food waste is to know exactly what kind of food you have going on BEFORE you head to the store. If you’re new to the game you might find it helpful to keep a list of what you have on hand in your fridge/freezer. This will help minimize buying duplicates and will encourage you to eat up what you have already.
A great example from our house is our vegetables for the week. If we have any extra veggies at the end of the week (zucchini, peppers, etc.) they either get incorporated into our Friday frittata or they get carried over for eatin’ the next week and that’s one less veg to buy that week.
Eat from the freezer.
Some of us can be very bad at buying or making things and socking them away in the freezer. Get using that stuff before it gets lost to the deep freeze or gets so freezer burnt it’s unrecognizable.
This concept can follow for canned goods, dried pasta, or any other type of food you may be socking away for later use. Get to it now before it becomes lost in the kitchen!
You can use the tips from above (knowing what you have on hand + eating from the freezer) to make your meal plan for the week. Here is the no-fail method I use to meal plan (I swear it takes less than 5 minutes, too).
- Look at your week and determine how many days you need meals for.
- Start making up your meals for each day with things you have on hand. [For example — Monday Dinner: chicken breast + rice; Tuesday + Thursday Dinner: pasta + sauce; Saturday Dinner: pizza]
- Next, fill in the meal plan with other foods you might need for the meal. [Monday Dinner: chicken breast + rice + vegetable for roasting; Saturday Dinner: pizza (toppings + cheese)]
- Make your grocery list from the items you are missing from your meal plan + other ingredients you need to make those dishes.
- Stick to your grocery list when at the store!
- Stick to your list when your in the store to minimize the extras you might pick up.
- Keep your grocery list flexible so you can shop in season or incase you encounter any unforeseen problems with stock
- Only bring home what you need! If you recipe only calls for 2 stalks of celery, just buying the two is always an option (or use the rest to make vegetable broth 😉 )!
Let’s chat – What are your meal planning tips and tricks? How do you rotate stock in your freezer? How are you grocery shopping smart?