Day 121 – Kitchen Therapy – Save $2,000/year on Food

The average family of four throws away up to $2,275 annually in food. I was shocked to hear that number. That’s almost $200 per month! Consider what you can do with that money. Go on vacation, repair your car, put it towards your kids’ college education fund, put it into your retirement, or simply – spend it on something that doesn’t go into the trash bin!

Here are 6 tips for ways to reduce food waste.

1. Buy less. This is the most obvious solution. Instead of buying a bundle of banana that goes bad in a few days, buy just a few. When you’re eating out at a restaurant, consider splitting an entree or eat an appetizer as your main course. (Isn’t appetizers always better, anyway?)

2. Plan. Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry. Each week, choose 2-3 meals, make a shopping list and stick to that list. Keep a shopping list on your refrigerator door so you can jot down items you need. This way, you don’t come home from the supermarket, without milk, again.

3. Freeze. Is that celery looking a bit sad? Are the carrots going limp? Are the bananas turning brown? Don’t throw it away! Freeze it. Frozen fruits and vegetables are wonderful to have on hand. You can bake with it, make smoothies, or use it for stock/soups. Better yet, anything vegetables you won’t use within 3-4 days, just chop up into bite size pieces and freeze. This way, you don’t have to run to the grocery store because you don’t have onion.

4. Change it. Food can be salved in many ways. For example, take that carrot that’s going bad and make carrot cake. Now you bought yourself another week. You can remove the part of the fruit that has gone bad and juice the good part, instead of tossing the entire fruit. Making soup is a great way to salvage vegetables that’s going bad. If you don’t want to freeze soup, you can keep it in the fridge then boil it every few days to keep it fresh.

5. Buy food without label. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables (the food that doesn’t come with labels). Instead of buying jarred, highly processed food, consider making it. Most foods that come in boxes, cans, and jars can easily be made in your kitchen using wholesome ingredients with minimal effort. Just go on Google and type in whatever you want to make followed by the word “recipe” – for example, “honey and mustard dressing recipe.”

6. Double down. Instead of cooking everyday, consider doubling your recipe then freeze half. I’ve found that most dishes survive the freezer just fine for months. This way, on those nights when everyone is hungry and cranky, all you have to do is look in your freezer for ready made dinner. Just pop it in the oven or microwave – dinner done.

Finally, check out: Love Food Hate Waste. It’s packed with ideas on ways to reduce food waste.

What have you done to reduce food waste? I’d love to hear from you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mirriam Seddiq February 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm

When we had money we threw out a ton of food. You know what helped? Being broke. We buy less, I cook more, I don’t throw anything away. It can go in soup, stew and yes, banana bread is a favorite.

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