When you plan you menus, you are probably feeding an extra “person”: your garbage can.
Planning ahead, taking measures to make your grocery buying as frugal as possible, and taking the time and effort to minimize the waste (Here are more suggestions for doing that) you produce in food preparation is all for naught if you’re throwing away a good portion of the food. I used to fill my fridge with veggies, only to have them go bad before I was able to use them. I saved my leftovers, only to have them mold. I would throw away the food, as well as the now-nasty container used to store it!
Here are some ways to use up ALL the food you purchase:
- Don’t buy a month’s worth of food all at once. While doing so is frugal and smart if you’re living off of boxed foods, produce just won’t last that long. I shop every other week instead.
- If something is starting to go bad, use it that day. Yes, you will have to deviate from your menu plan, but you will end up wasting less.
- Plan for the fridge to be nearly empty before you go shopping again. If anything stays, plan to use it early in the next week.
- Try to avoid leftovers. Reduce recipes so you make just enough food for your family.
- Or incorporate leftovers into your menu plan. Don’t just let them sit without a plan.
- Leftovers also make great lunches.
These are all very simple ideas, but they will do a great deal to help you reduce waste and save money!