Nothing is quite like the experience of grabbing something from the refrigerator and throwing it in the trash once you come to realize it expired months ago. These kinds of experiences prompt a lot of people to immediately go through the refrigerator and get rid of every expired item in one fell swoop. Maybe you have you done it yourself.
It goes without saying that every food item thrown in the trash represents wasted food. And wasting food is also wasting money. No matter how you feel about expired food (some people don’t think it’s that bad) there is never a justifiable reason for not doing something about waste.
In an effort to help our clients avoid expired food, we have put together a list of easy suggestions anyone can implement:
1. Limit Grocery Shopping
Whenever you head to the grocery store, go with the mindset of limiting the amount of food you buy to just what you need. You can do this whether you shop every few days, every week, or even semi-monthly. Limiting grocery shopping to just what you need might mean increasing the frequency at which you shop. We can help. Grocery shopping and other errands are among the services we provide at My Divine Concierge.
2. Plan Your Meals
Second only to limiting grocery shopping is meal planning. Taking a few minutes to plan a week or two in advance makes abundantly clear just what you need to purchase from the grocery store. Without advance planning, the temptation to buy more food than you need is quite strong. Remember the old saying that says if you fail to plan you are actually planning to fail? It is so true when it comes to food waste.
3. Make Use of the Freezer
It makes a lot of sense from a financial standpoint to buy some groceries in larger quantities. For example, you can usually get a better price on meat if you are willing to buy more of it in a single visit to the grocery store. That’s fine because you can cook an entire package of meat at one time and then freeze what you don’t need for that day’s meal. You can then make sure to eat the rest of it by pulling pieces out of the freezer every few days.
4. Think Small for Produce
Many people mistakenly believe they cannot buy produce in small volumes. It is not true, though. You can buy just one onion and two small tomatoes. You do not need to buy full bushels. Yes, you might spend a little more buying just one or two items, but throwing away half a bushel that has gone bad mean you are actually spending more in the long run.
5. Don’t Cook Too Much
Finally, learn to cook according to the portions you need for one particular meal. With the exception of cooking large quantities that will be frozen and used later on, cooking more than you can eat in a single meal is an invitation to waste. If you are not a big fan of leftovers – and a lot of people are not – don’t cook so much as to guarantee you’ll have leftovers. Then you will be less tempted to throw away the excess.
Some food expiration is completely unavoidable. However, you can reduce the amount of expired food you throw away by implementing the simple tips listed here. The more effort you put into not wasting food, the less often you will open the refrigerator and find food items destined for the trash.