When planning out a full week of groceries for yourself or your family it can be difficult to figure out what you will need, especially if you are on a budget or do not have time to make multiple trips per week. A common tendency is to over purchase and end up having food go bad. Wasting food wastes money and has negative impacts on the environment. Most people want to reduce their food waste, but it is easier said than done. Buying the right amount of groceries takes practice. Planning ahead for some of your meals is an important step in reducing food waste. If you are feeding a family or living with roommates and can make food planning a group activity, it’s a good opportunity to get creative. One idea is to let each kid or family member choose one meal a week. That way the responsibility for meal planning is shared, everyone has a meal they look forward to, and all ingredients can be incorporated into your grocery list. If you are living with roommates, you could make one or two group meals during the week and put together the ingredients you haven’t used yet. If you each have some veggies in the fridge that will go bad soon you can throw them into a pasta or make a vegetable soup that everyone can share.
Eating fresh food first and stocking up on canned and frozen food is also a good tool to reduce food waste and save money. This ensures some healthy food for meals in case you run out of fresh food before your next trip to the grocery store.
Another important tip is storing your food properly and freezing what you can. Items like bread and cheese freeze well and you can take them out as needed. If you still end up with a little extra food waste and have access to a compost bin, that is a great way to dispose of your food in a more environmentally friendly way. Reducing your food waste is a great way to save money and lessen your carbon footprint.