Here’s how bad the economy and purchasing power are getting: a friend of mine, who is anything but frugal, recently told me about her attempts to trim her grocery bill and waste less food.
“We used to throw away one fourth of the food we bought,” she said. “Now we’re eating leftovers and not going to out to eat as much. When we do go out, it’s to the pizza place down the street, not to a nice restaurant.”
I have also been making a conscious effort to waste less food. Here are the five things I do to help us eat every last scrap of food in the house.
1. I reverse menu plan. After going grocery shopping, I write down a list of all the meals we can make with the food that we have, and post the list on the side of the fridge. Then I loosely plan which meals we’ll eat on which nights, based on my schedule and who’s cooking.
2. My husband and I scavenge for lunch. He usually comes home for lunch and eats coldcuts and bread, while I take leftovers to school and heat them up in the cafe’s microwave.
3. We have leftover nights, at least twice a week. That’s when we finish the things that haven’t yet gotten eaten and I make the leftover fish sticks or hamburger patty, in order to finish the box. Everybody gets something different.
4. I make and serve smaller quantities. Instead of making a huge pot of stew for example, and eating it for days on end. I now make a smaller quantity. We still have enough for two or three meals, plus some to freeze, but the quantities aren’t so overwhelming. Plus I have a small freezer, so I try to be judicious with what I can freeze, in order to have a good variety.
5. I don’t try new recipes– I stick to tried and true and kid approved. My kids aren’t really picky eaters, but if they don’t like something, they won’t eat it, no matter how delicious it is. That increases the likelyhood of food getting wasted. I’ve therefore become more conservative in what I choose to make, so that I know we’ll eat it all.
How do you stretch your food buddget? Do you waste a lot of food?