5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
- Make it a game (think Chopped or Iron Chef). Put the ingredients you have on a table and challenge family members to get creative by transforming them into a meal using only what you already have in your kitchen. Pretend you’re in a mountain cabin and you can’t get back to the store until the end of the vacation, so you have to stretch out those ingredients.
- Try new recipes like frittata, pasta, stir-fry, salad, and stew that are flexible enough to use up odds and ends at the end of the week (we call this the Sixth Night Scavenge). Substitute whatever vegetables and cheeses you need to use up in this Frittata with Red Potatoes and Greens recipe. If you’re not a confident cook, type several ingredients you do have into a search bar on your favorite meal planner or search engine site.
- End the week with a picnic or happy hour dinner where you pull out stray ingredients, leftovers, vegetables, dips/dressings, and canned foods like sardines, tuna, or refried beans to have a casual dinner. Make a smoothie with any leftover fruits to complete your meal.
- Think about what you would do with an extra $1,500 OR $2,000 this year. Stick a picture on your fridge and make that your motivation. Let each family member pick a vacation destination or other reward that you could afford if you spent less money on food.
- Before you shop, check your calendar and plan for one less meal than the amount of home cooked dinners you hope to enjoy. That way you won’t wind up with ingredients for an extra meal if you have to punt on dinner plans one night. And even if your meals do go as planned, you’ll be left with one night each week to use up all the food you bought before you plan and shop again.
These small changes to your shopping, meal planning, and eating routines can have a huge impact on your family budget, stress level, and the climate, which we need to stabilize if we want to have continued access to the foods we all love.