Yesterday was my third no food waste week in a row. I thought I would share how I’m working to eliminate my family’s food waste.
But first, why is cutting down on food waste so important? Because every time you throw away food, you are throwing away money.
Food isn’t like a shirt you bought, wore once, and threw away. You can’t “wear” food (well you can, but that’s another story). Better put, you can’t use food once and then throw it out. If you don’t eat it, it gets thrown out. Which means that whatever money you spent on buying those ingredients is also being thrown away.
Whenever I have to throw food away, whether its leftovers or an individual ingredient (in my house it’s usually an herb), I think of it as throwing literal money in the trash. Makes for a very painful image and it leads me to harassing my family into eating leftover breakfast casserole three days in a row.
Learning not to waste food has been a huge challenge. I started working on it when I lived alone and have taken those hard learned lessons and applied (or attempted) them while living at home.
One big thing that helps is not to buy more food than we need in a week. I make a menu plan every week, and write my grocery list based on ONLY what I need for the week. At the grocery store, I have to control any impulse spending, which gets easier every week. Then once I’m home, I make an effort to only cook what we can eat. I may make a little more pasta or another chicken breast, purposely planning for leftovers, but I don’t like to make a huge casserole or tons of rice because I know that we will get tired of eating it before it’s all gone.
Eliminating food waste has not been an easy road. It’s mostly about planning in advance. It starts with planning my menu, tracking what I buy at the grocery store, packaging meats in smaller portions before freezing them, and only cooking what my family can eat. I will never claim to be a pro at this, nor do I especially enjoy having to eat leftovers, especially in strange combination (leftover rice and pizza, anyone?), but I just keep thinking about throwing money away. That seems to help.