America wastes 40% of its food. That’s like throwing away over $2,200 per year for a family of four.
Here are five ways to stop wasting food and stretch your food dollars:
1. Make a menu plan before shopping. Look through your refrigerator and cupboard before heading to the store, and plan meals for the week. Use up ingredients you already have and supplement only what you need.
2. While planning your meals, consider more than one way to eat your food. Baking chicken and planning to have leftovers? Add a few ingredients to have chicken tacos or chicken soup the next day. You’re more likely to finish leftovers if they have been “repurposed” into a new meal.
3. When you return from the store, spend a few minutes preparing food. Cut up vegetables, so they are easy to grab for a snack. Chop vegetables and meats so they are ready for meal prep. This makes it easy to stick to your meal plan rather than eating out after a long day.
4. Think about the food you often throw away. For many, it’s fruit and vegetables that aren’t used. Keep them front and center – in a fruit bowl on the counter, in front of the fridge – so you are more likely to remember to eat them. Lots of food can be kept in the freezer –bread, baked goods, even milk and yogurt! Put leftovers in the freezer rather than throwing them away, and you’ll save yourself a day of cooking later.
5. Wrap leftovers in small containers and use for lunch the next day. Just remember to take your meal to work or school. You’ll save yourself the money of eating out and also prevent waste!
A little planning can save your family big money and help reduce waste and save natural resources.
Sarah C. is a guest contributor to Bread for the City’s blog.