Do you ever feel like you waste a lot of food, and money, because you had to toss some of your groceries out before you had a chance to use them? Me too, and it is not a good feeling. I don't like to see our money going in to the trash and I am sure you don't either.
Here are 5 tips to help you waste less food and save more money!
1. Meal Plan, But Don't Overcook- Planning out your meals for the week is a great way to keep your shopping list precise and your budget in check because you will only have to shop for the items you need for your planned meals. But, keep in mind that your meal plan is a guide, and you don't have to cook each planned meal on your list. If you have leftovers use them before cooking a brand new meal. Overcooking can lead to waste at the end of the week.
2. Pack Leftovers Intentionally- If you have just enough food leftover from dinner to take with you the next day for lunch, pack it in a clear container that is ready to grab and go so that it doesn't sit in the fridge for days, overlooked. If it is convenient for you to grab and toss into your lunchbag, it will more than likely be used than not. Having a few divided food storage containers makes this step easy and you can find them at your local Dollar Tree store.
3. Get Creative - Have a bag of chips with just a handful of broken pieces or crumbs at the bottom of the bag? Don't toss them! These leftover bits can be used as salad, soup and casserole toppers, or crushed and used to coat chicken for some added flavor. Pretzels, cereal, nuts, candy and raisins (or other dried fruit) can be added together in an air tight container to create your own snack mix. Try to re-purpose and re-use fresh food items and leftovers as well, by adjusting recipes to include what you already have on hand.
4. Seperate Your Meat Before You Freeze It- When it is cost effective, we buy max packs or family packs of meat. These packages of meat can be divided in half and stored in two seperate freezer safe sealed bags and placed in the freezer for later use. At this time you could also add your favorite marinade or crockpot ingredients as well. Ground meat can be seperated out into sandwich size freezer safe sealed bags and flattened out for easy storage. Tip: squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as you can before freezing.
5. Wash and Package Your Fresh Fruit- Make your own grab-and-go snack bags of fresh fruit. As soon as you have unpacked your groceries, rinse your fruit well and let them strain to dry. Once they are dry, measure about 3/4 cup and put them into grab and go ziploc baggies and keep them on a shelf that is easy to see and a height that is easy to reach for your kiddos. When I skip this step, I often end up with rotten grapes or berries in our crisper drawer.
Using these tips has helped us to waste less and stick to our budget. When I have meal planned and shopped for 6 meals, but I can re-purpose and reuse the food I have already cooked or have on hand, guess what!? I now have all of the necessary ingredients for meals that I don't have to shop for next week! One less meal I need to shop for means more money in our pocket! That's always a good thing.
Thank you for being here!