"Waste not, want not," as they saying goes. Super true.
Tossing out expired food is among one of the most unfrugal things that can happen in your kitchen. You paid for the food, but didn’t use it to its potential. It’s like throwing money in the trash AND you’ll have to replace the item sooner than you would have otherwise.
Unfortunately, I end up tossing more foods than I would like.
In an effort to be less wasteful (and, by definition, more frugal), here’s a few things we can all do to avoid wasting food.
- Plan your menus. If you buy your groceries based off of your meal plans, you won’t buy random ingredients that you don’t need.
- Store foods in clear containers if at all possible. If you can see the contents, you might be more likely to grab it the next time you’re raiding the fridge for a snack.
- If you don’t drink much milk, buy less than a gallon at a time, so that it won’t spoil before you can drink it. Or, try freezing milk.
- If you need to drain a can, consider saving the liquid. You can save fruity liquid (such as from a pineapple can) for the next time you make a fruit salad, smoothie, etc. For vegetable liquid stuff, you can use it in your next soup. Pour it into a container, label, and freeze.
- If you regularly throw out the same types of foods, see the pattern and either stop buying that food, buy less of it, or force yourself to use it up. We tend to throw out a lot of lettuce. It browns faster than we can eat it. In the future, I’m going to only buy leafy spinach. That way, if it’s starting to get old, I can cook it and freeze it for later. Better for ya, too.
- Cook and/or freeze fruits and vegetables that are about to expire, and use them in the future.
- If you don’t plan to get a "doggy bag" when you go out to eat, then share an entree or only order what you can eat in that sitting.
- Have a plan for leftovers. If you’re making a double batch of something, be sure it shows up on your dinner table before freezer burn gets it. Consider using leftovers for your lunch the next day. If you’re really talented, you can use leftovers for an entirely new dish.
- Use all of it. Check out what you can do with one chicken.
- Use stale bread to make bread crumbs or croutons.
- If you simply can’t stand leftovers and never eat them, then cook less food!
- Edit: One more idea: Once per week, pull out all of your leftovers and reheat & serve them, buffet-style. Or, weekly, go through your fridge and cook and/or freeze whatever is still in there.
These are just a few ideas. What can you add to the list?
Also, be sure to check out 50 ideas to keep us from wasting food. You won’t want to miss those tips!