Avoiding waste is one of the ways in which you can control your food budget. It’s amazing how much food people throw out. Did you know that more than 1/3 of all food is just thrown away? That’s the food that you buy and spend your hard-earned money on. It’s important to focus on avoiding the food waste if you really want to help your budget.
* Be Realistic – It’s very important to take into consideration your real life, your real cooking ability, and your true personality when you make plans for your meals, shopping, and daily life. Only you know who you really are so don’t be afraid to go with that. If you’re not a cook-from-scratch person, accept it and try to deal with that within your means. If you work 90 hours a week, it’s important to accept that your time is limited and you need to plan for meals that are simple to prepare instead of difficult.
* Mind Your Serving Size – One reason people waste is that they think they must make huge serving sizes. But that’s not true. You’re not a restaurant and you really don’t want to be overstuffed at every single meal. Instead, figure out the right serving sizes and make that much food and no extra.
* Eat Your Leftovers – When you do end up with leftovers, it’s important to consume them. Even if it’s just a 1/4 cup of veggies, they can be added to another dish and even hidden in other dishes. You can make soup and stews using leftovers. Put every veggie in the freezer and save it; when you have enough, throw it into a pot to make soup.
* Store Food Properly – One way to avoid waste is to be sure to store food right. Everything has a specific way to be stored and you need to pay attention to that so that it lasts as long as possible. For example, potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place; not in the fridge. If you’re not sure how to store your produce, look it up online to get the best tips.
* Keep Your Fridge and Pantry Neat – When the place you store your food is unorganized, it can be hard to remember what you have in there. You may forget that you have that spice you needed and buy another thinking it’s gone. You may lose that cheese in the container to the back of the fridge and before you know it, it’s moldy. Keeping everything neat will help you avoid that type of waste.
* Mind Food Expiration Dates – Everything you buy has an expiration date. Plan the order you fix the food in with that in mind. That way, nothing will spoil before you’re ready to eat it when you put that forward in your meal planning.
* Compost Your Waste – You don’t want to get too tied up in this, but one way to cut down on waste is to compost. Even if you live in an apartment you can compost your waste. There are community gardens that will take your composting waste; just make a few phone calls to find out where.
* Learn Food Storage Techniques – Learning food storage techniques goes beyond how to store a banana or an expiration date. It means canning, freezing, and fermenting. When you learn these techniques, you can avoid even more waste and save even more money.
When you avoid food waste, you also avoid money waste. Start thinking of everything you throw away as money. Track your trash to find out how much money you are tossing away. Why are you tossing it away? How can you change the habit of wasting food?
If you set up your kitchen and your life to focus on avoiding waste, you will be surprised at how low you can get your food bill while still eating plenty of healthy vegetarian food.