It's spring and often we feel we need to have a “spring clean” at this time of the year. But I want to suggest that you instead look at having a spring clean for your fridge. Many of us are constantly wasting food that we buy and then simply throwing it away a week later without a second thought. I want to help you save some money and also reduce your food wastage.
Be wise about what you buy
For some of us, going to the supermarket for food can be a real chore and because we are often in a rush or just want the experience to be over with we will normally just grab what we think we might have. But in the long run, this is costing you money because you will be more likely to throw away those “impulse” foods you just scooped into your trolley.
A great tip is to make your food shopping trips more frequent but buy less. It’s even more practical that you think of meals to have throughout the week before you go shopping and make a grocery list that can be your helpful food partner. I will admit it does sometimes take discipline, but it means you will spend less time in the shopping aisle and also less time thinking what to have every day. If you do get into this planning method I would suggest leaving one or two days open, this is in case something pops up or you just want to do something different.
Another tip you could take on every now and again is to not always give in to “buy one, get the other half price”. Unless, that is, you put one of them in the freezer. This is because at the time you may think it is a good deal, but if they are going to expire soon you will only end up using one and disposing of the other.
Find five 10-minute meals
It has happened to most of us. We get in from work and simply want to cosy up into our pyjamas and eat something as soon as possible. Then you also might not make anything for lunch the next day and just buy a sandwich from the shop nearby. But you’re buying more food and wasting food that you could have used from your own cupboard shelves. So learn maybe three to five quick and simple recipes that only take 10 to 20 minutes. You soon get the hang of making them and you won’t feel the need to go out and buy food or get a takeaway because it’s convenient.
Get to know the portion size you need
Whether you’re a single guy living at home or a family with four kids, I really advise looking at how much you actually eat. Getting your portion sizes right can be really difficult - you can overcook and you can undercook. So for one to two weeks try looking at how much you actually eat before you feel full. Then see how many leftovers you have. If you find you are constantly having leftovers or not enough food then you need to change your portion sizes. By doing this you will only cook the products you will eat, plus you will reduce your waste.
Although I stated you should try to find out your portion size and reduce your leftovers, sometimes it is just inevitable. So when you do get leftovers, place them into some Tupperware® and either freeze them for another day or take a pot of leftovers for lunch the day after. Even if it is just a small amount you should still freeze it because it could be later used for soup, broth or even stock.
Another thing you could start trying is saving all vegetable peelings and placing them in your garden for the birds to dine on. Just make sure what you are putting out is safe for birds to consume.
A lot of food may go stale over time, or soggy. This is especially true for crackers and biscuits. So try to find air tight jars that will help you preserve your dry food for longer.
Use your freezer
You should cherish your freezer because it really is the best thing to use to stop food waste. When you’re in doubt about whether you will eat something in the next few days it is best to store it in the freezer. You can even store fruits and veg in the freezer to preserve them for longer. You obviously will have to thaw them out and be prepared for them to take longer to cook, but you will save quite a bit of money by freezing your food.
Have a “use it up” meal once a week
Before you do go running to the supermarket have a good look in every nook and cranny of your kitchen. Somewhere there will be ingredients you can put together to make a meal. Get into the habit of doing this every week. You will reduce the food you waste and you may even find brand new recipes that you can use again. If you find it hard just type the ingredients you have into Google® and see what recipes come up. You might be surprised by the options you have.