For 2021 one of my goals is to waste less food.
I’m sure we’ve all been there. You purchase something from the grocery store and you just don’t get around to eating it on time. It goes stale, or it goes bad and inevitably winds up in the trash.
When I throw out food I feel like I’m throwing cash directly into the garbage. To be quite honest, I’m not a huge fan of doing such. So, one of my main goals for 2021 is to waste less food. I want to eat what I buy and I want to minimize trash made.
Here are some steps I am taking to help combat my own personal food waste:
Only buying what I eat. It sounds more simple then it is. When things are on sale, when things are a good deal, or when I tell myself that I’m boring and I need to ‘change it up’, I often wind up with things in my cart that I don’t want and won’t eat. If it’s not something i eat regularly, I’m not going to buy it on a whim. Odds are, it’ll go bad while I’m deciding whether or not to make it.
Utilizing my freezer. Things like vegetables can be frozen when they’re reaching close to their expiry date. If I don’t make it to those carrots in time, I’m going to freeze them. If I don’t make it to that cole-slaw mixture in time, I’m going to freeze it. If I don’t eat that spinach in time, it’s going in the freezer to. All of these things can then be baked, cooked into fried rice, or put in smoothies.
Using scraps to make broth. Utilizing broth is actually incredibly healthy for you. And, when you have the power to control what goes into it and what doesn’t, you can make it healthier than that you’d find on a store shelf. When I cut the ends off my veggies or take the bones out of my meat, it’s being turned into a broth. Broths can be used for soups and stews, or you can use them as a replacement for water when making rice.
Composting. Composting is something I think everyone should take part in. That’s my own personal bias, but it’s just so easy. If you have a yard, you can compost in your yard. If you live in the city like I do, check google for local composting options. Even if you don’t have a yard, or a composting option, if you have indoor plants, doing something so small as adding your egg-shells to the soil of any potted plants you might have. There’s so much calcium in egg-shells that the shells can help your plants thrive. The neighbourhood that I live has a composting program where we provide all of our compost and they use it ground up in the soil they use for the flowerbeds each year.
Utilizing stale food. This sounds silly at first glance. Truthfully though, there are a lot of ways to utilize something that might be a little too stale for you to just grab and eat as is. For me, if a cereal is stale, I’ll put it in my yogurt. It doesn’t taste stale when you put it in yogurt like you would granola. I have a bad habit of eating half of a protein bar and then leaving the other half until it’s stale. In that case, I’ve realized that I can blend it into little bits and mix it into the muffins I make for myself. Stale chips and pretzels make great coating for chicken.
Speaking of blenders… if you have an immersion blender… like a Vitamix or a Ninja blender… you can actually blend the peels of fruits directly into smoothies. Banana peel or apple peel… the blender is powerful enough to just blend it into the smoothie so that you don’t even know it’s there. Not all blenders are powerful enough to blend in the peels. But, if you have one that is, the added nutrients you’ll get from those peels is worth testing. If you can get past how weird it is to think you’re consuming a banana peel.
Air Fryers make great leftovers. I got an air fryer for a Christmas present last month. One thing I’ve noticed about the air fryer is that it heats leftovers evenly and doesn’t make them rubbery like a microwave can often do. I use my air fryer for a lot of leftovers, and I highly recommend it to anyone who owns an air fryer.,
Not buying single serve food containers from the grocery store. This one isn’t really to do with food waste, more to do with packaging waste. I don’t like those individually wrapped sandwiches or single use packages of side dishes at the grocery store. They’re usually 2-4 times more expensive then if you were to just buy the item individually and make it, and there’s so much packaging. Packaging that, because it’s been holding messy food, likely will never get recycled. I’d rather get bread and ham and lettuce/spinach for $4.00 and make twelve sandwiches than buy one pre-made sandwich that’s $4.99 or more with clunky packaging that goes right into the trash after ten minutes.
I know there are many more ways to cut down on food waste and I know that I’m definitely not perfect. What are some ways that you cook/eat to ensure you use as much of the food as you buy as possible? How do you minimize food waste? And if you don’t already do any steps towards minimizing food waste, do you think it might be something you consider in the future?