Hey friends! Let’s chat about food today, specifically food waste. Before we dive too deep into these waters I should preface this post with the simple truth that I’m not perfect in this department. My family and I still lose those random half used containers of Greek yogurt in the back of the fridge or leave the forgotten leftovers too long. However, with that said, I have learned a little along the way during these past 12 years of homemaking and I thought I would share some tips today.
Stretch your ingredients
One way I try to waste less is by using my ingredients throughout several meals. For instance if I’m browning a large batch of ground beef I’ll use some for chili and some for hamburger helper, maybe some for lasagna. I’ll do this same thing with different veggies, broths/stocks, etc
Store your leftovers in separate containers
Seriously nothing is worse than going to eat left over chicken that has been sitting in broccoli juice all night long. Doing this allows you to use your leftovers to create whole new meals. I try to do this the following day so that things don’t sit in my fridge. This is something your have to be really intentional about. Keeping track of what you have. Writing the date with dry erase marker on the container helps you know when it was made and when it needs to be used by. I keep a shelf specifically for leftover. This way everything is visible. Don’t just stick to supper either, you can reuse for breakfast and lunch. I use up veggies for omelets or meats for salads. One of my favorite creations is what I call cheesy salsa chicken. I just use leftover grilled chicken I pour in some salsa and cheese and scoop that over pasta or rice. I’ll even save the dill pickle juice to marinate my chicken in…ps this makes a tasty breaded chicken nugget in the air fryer. The dill juice makes it taste like Chick Fil A 😉
Have a stocked pantry
Having items at arms reach helps you to put meals together quickly. Having the basics on hand allows you to create meals to use up the perishables before they go bad.
Store perishable items in the freezer
This is self explanatory. I like to store whatever I can in the freezer to extend its shelf life.
Can or freeze fruits and veggies
If you’re not into canning then just buy more frozen and canned items. There are certain veggies that you have to buy fresh, but if I can buy something frozen I’ll do that because I know it’ll last longer and it won’t go to waste.
Along the same lines of stretching ingredients, use up fresh fruits and veggies in a variety of meals veggies are great in things like soups, stews, sauces, stir frys, etc. If I have have an abundance of fruit I’ll use it up in baked goods, on my oatmeal, in my salad. As I type this I have 4 bananas that are over ripe and tomorrow they’ll be made into banana bread.
I’m not much of a meal planner. I tend to be more of a meal prepper. While I don’t plan every meal for the week. I’ll take a look at what I have, keep in mind what’s in season, what needs to be used up and plan accordingly. Then when I unpack my groceries I like to prep what I can in advance. Make meals ahead and freeze, brown meat, use what I can right away in the moment so that things don’t get forgotten later. This is also a great way to eat up those fresh healthier snack options. Having fruit washed and sliced up, having veggies cut up, having food all ready to go means you’re more likely to eat it, because it becomes a grab and go kind of meal.
Consider using store pickup options
I also like to make a list and do store pickup. This way I’m not roaming aisles and buying foods I don’t need. Buying online keeps me on track and keeps me from getting excess.
I hope these ideas have helped you today, what are your best tips to reduce food waste in your home? I’d love to hear some new ideas I haven’t included.