It's upsetting to find forgotten ingredients in the bottom of the fridge and end up throwing them out before you've had the chance to consume it. 'What a waste of money!' is probably your first thought and you're right! Feeding a family is expensive, especially when you are selecting quality produce. Apart from your bank balance there is also the environmental impact because the food we buy has required energy consumption from farming, manufacturing, packing, transportation and then selling the food. Whether you are keen to work towards a zero waste lifestyle or would simply like to make some positive changes here are just a few tips which could inspire you.
Clean out your fridge before you go food shopping
This has saved me $$$$$ in recent years. I always scanned the contents before a shop but wiping down each shelf actually forces me to check the expiry dates or notice the condition of the food as I move it. This new little ritual has stopped me from buying more of an item that I hadn't even used yet since the last shop. I usually end up delaying the food shop by a couple of days as I discover I still have more food than I thought I did. Try it and you'll be amazed what you can create with your leftover ingredients for 'use up night!'
Keep your food fresh - Leaving food without correctly storing it will lead to produce perishing much more quickly. Choose ways to keep food fresher for longer allowing you more time to consume it. Here are a few food storage options available at Love Your Health Australia.
Honeybee Wrap Reusable Beeswax Wraps - are an eco-friendly, sustainable replacement to wasteful plastic wraps. They come in various sizes and beautiful designs. They will mould directly around your food or can be used as covers for your bowls to keep your food fresher for longer. They are compostable and will last you for many years. Made using certified organic cotton infused with a special blend of Australian organic beeswax.
Little Mashies Reusable Leftover Lids Pack of 4 - work brilliantly for the half eaten piece of fruit, these lids will create an air tight lid without the need for plastic wrap. You could even assign a colour for each child in your family so they always know which half eaten fruit is theirs to eat before grabbing anything else.
Try not to dish up too large portions - Leftovers are cherished in our house, many dinners will make a lovely lunch the next day or can be portioned up and frozen for a night you have little time to cook from scratch. However I definitely get more out of our meals when I avoid dishing up too much to begin with, we can always get seconds instead! To be honest once the food has been sloshed around the kids bowls and possibly chewed once and spat out I'm not keen to use it for leftovers so will serve smaller portions firstly and keep the rest untouched.
Write a shopping list before you go
We've all been there, you end up doubling up on food because you couldn't remember what was in the cupboard, You're more likely to waste perishable goods this way and your spending money on items you didn't actually need. Writing a list can help prevent waste and save you money.
Plan your meals
Many people swear by meal plans, meaning you find ways to use your food up before its too late and it can also prevent you from buying too much. I know its nice to also be spontaneous with cooking but meal planning for the weeks dinners and lunchboxes can be a great way of keeping your shopping list lean as you only buy what you have planned to consume and can plan to eat in order of which items need to be consumed sooner.
Rearrange your fridge and cupboards
If you can visualise an array of condiments currently in your fridge door which you haven't used for a while its probably time for a quick spring clean. Save those hard to reach cupboards for non food items so you wont forget about the food. Place perishable items in clear sight in the fridge rather than in the drawers where items can be forgotten. Use the fridge drawers for your condiments as they don't expire as quickly and have a stock take of what you have in there and make a mental note of how to use them.