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Food waste is usually a black hole in our budgets — and it’s been a problem in my household that I have been desperately trying to conquer for years. Things often tend to be forgotten about or perhaps even get lost in the back of the fridge, never to be seen in edible condition again.
When we allow our kitchens
But how do you get it all under control?
Today, we are going to discuss 5 Easy Ways to Eliminate Food Waste and Save Money.
Mark expiration dates in thick black permanent marker, such as Sharpie. Expiration dates stamped on the packaging are usually tiny and easy to miss. By marking the expiration dates large enough for you to see on the packaging you will be able to look into the fridge and see which package of cheese or veggies will spoil if not used first.
TIP: In the pantry, things usually get tossed around or buried. Easy to read expiration dates will help your family see what they are grabbing. Those big, bold markings are a fantastic reminder to check the expiration date!
Always keep produce visible. Often when we come home from the supermarket, we toss produce into the crisper drawers without giving it much thought. This is precisely where fresh fruits and veggies go to die. Out of sight, out of mind definitely seems to apply here. Rather than tossing your produce into the crisper drawers to be forgotten, invest in some storage containers that are designed just for storing produce. This will help ensure that your produce remains visible and will also keep it fresh a little longer.
TIP: Replace crisper drawers with these storage containers to keep produce visible at all times.
Rotate food going into the pantry when you get home. This is going to keep your freshest pantry items in the back as well as the older items in front ready to be used. If your family is known for tearing apart the pantry, regularly straighten it up when you stock. For cans, you can find all sorts of wonderful rotating shelf units if your pantry space is large enough to accommodate them.
TIP: Replace containers you are not able to see through with transparent versions. Keeping food visible at all times is crucial to keeping it from becoming forgotten about until Spring Cleaning comes around and you find that canister you filled with flour last year in the back of the pantry that you carelessly assumed was something else.
Freezer cooking prep is a terrific way to get organized and reduce food waste. When you get home from the supermarket grab a cup of coffee, put on your favorite music, and start doing the prep work for your meals. Wash, chop, and season meats and veggies for crockpot meals and store them in gallon size freezer bags for later use. This will ensure food stays fresh and gets used rather than lost or buried in the fridge and forgotten about.
TIP: You can save a lot of time and money as well as your sanity when your meals are neatly planned ahead, organized and ready to cook. This is especially helpful for moms who work outside the home, and moms with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, who may not always have the energy to devote several hours a day to meal preparations.
Clean out the refrigerator regularly to avoid food waste. Older items in the fridge can be used to make that night’s dinner or placed out on the counter for snacks for the kids. Grab those leftovers and use them to create an enjoyable feast of leftovers where everyone gets to pick what they want to eat.
TIP: Another great idea for leftovers is to pack them for your husband’s lunches. My husband loves to take leftovers to work with him. He often enjoys sharing his loving wife’s home-cooking with his hungry co-workers who might not have had the blessed fortune of a lovingly packed lunch. 😉
Keeping a clean and well-organized kitchen will help you reduce food waste, feed your precious family easier, and will also help you to get the most out of your food budget. It just takes a little time and a few helpful tools like Transparent Food Storage Containers, and a thick black Sharpie to label foods.
Do you have a helpful way to reduce food waste not mentioned here? I’d love to hear about it! Share it in the comments below!