Last updated in November 2020
There are easy ways to avoid wastage of food. We often unintentionally waste food because we are too busy with our lives. Not only is this a waste of money, but it also means you are a mindless consumer. Mindless consumerism is the opposite of a frugal and happy life.
Wasting food can be easily avoided. All it needs is a few minutes of planning and mindful shopping. You will save money on groceries without a loss of quality. Furthermore, your life will be more organised and happier.
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Table of Contents
Ways to avoid wastage of food
Make a plan
The first step to avoid food waste is not buying anything you will not be able to use in time. Therefore, making a meal plan is crucial. If you know what you are going to eat, you can buy the specific ingredients and nothing else.
A meal plan can also help you be more organised and eat more healthily. Because you know exactly what you are going to eat, there is less of a temptation to eat junk. Equally, having a meal plan may make it easier for you to avoid takeaway meals.
Thus your idela meal plan should
- include healthy, filling meals
- allow for flexibility in case you have a guest or miss a meal
- have portion sizes adjusted to what you and your household eats
It will be easier if you have a meal planner that is simple but useful. For example, you could get a magnetic planner and put it on your fridge:
Or you could use a book if that works better for you:
Have a shopping list
Making a shopping list is the next logical step after making a meal plan. A shopping list will prevent you from buying unnecessary foods that are likely to go off before you can use them. As an additional benefit, a shopping list will ensure that you remember everything you need to buy.
You can write your shopping list on a simple piece of paper, in your phone’s notes, or buy a more elaborate list. Having a nice list may help you actually using it.
Check use-by dates
Once you bought your food, keep an eye on the use-by date. If you are having difficulty with this and frequently find gone-off food in your fridge, there are a number of approaches you can take:
- You can use coloured labels to indicate when foods go off. For example, you could use a red label for food going off in week one, blue for week 2, etc. You then ‘reset’ these when you next go shopping.
- Another way is to group food by use-buy date in your fridge and cupboards. Foods with similar data can be stored together. This means you only have to check one item in each group to see how long you still have to eat it.
- Or you can put a weekly reminder in your phone to have a dedicated time to check your fridge and shelves. It may seem annoying at first but checking should only take you a few minutes at most.
Ways to avoid wastage of food – cook stews
Even if you use a meal plan and a shopping list, leftovers are unavoidable. This is because you cannot buy the exact amount of each product that you need for your meal. Stews are an easy way to use up these leftovers.
Stews can have all kinds of ingredients, making it an easy way to get rid of leftovers. Here is one recipe that I love. Even if you do not have the right ingredients, you can easily find alternatives on Google.
If you have too much stew, do not like stew, or have other leftovers, consider putting them in the freezer. Freezing meals means you have something ready when you are too busy too cook. Rather than throwing food away, you can think of defrosted food as a free meal.
Some foods may lose a bit of taste after they have been frozen. For most meals, this can easily be solved by putting some cheese on top of it and baking it in the oven. If cheese is not an option, adding salt also helps.
Give away food
Donating food is a good idea if you have some extra food you cannot use. You will do something good and get rid of your unwanted food. Even if you do not have excess food, buying some for food banks will help those in need.
Other than donating, you could also consider asking family members or close friends whether they have a use for your unwanted food. You may even get something in return!
Ways to avoid wastage of food summary
Wasting food is commonplace and most of it is unintentional. It can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning. In particular, good ways to avoid wastage of food include the following steps:
- Make a plan
- Make a shopping list
- Check use-by dates
- Cook stews
- Freeze leftovers
- Give away food
If you are on top of your game and looking to go one step further, you can try simplifying your kitchen.
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