Though it may not be intentional, Americans waste more food than we care to admit. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, most of us discard about a pound of food a day, which is heartbreaking with so many people starving in our own nation and other countries. To give you a better idea, 75 billion pounds of food, a whopping 22% of everything we put on our plates, went to landfills in 2019 instead of in us. However, this post isn’t meant as a lecture to criticize, but one to help prevent wasting food in the future and saving money with the tips I’m about to share.
To begin with, we typically put more food on our plates than our stomachs have room for. What usually happens is that we can’t clean our plates. Therefore, the food ends up in the trash. However, a simpler alternative is not piling our plates so high. There is nothing wrong with putting less food on your plate and then later adding more once you finish. In doing so, you will prevent wasting food, save money and, perhaps, adding to your waistline.
Moreover, if you cook too much, you may automatically be tempted to toss the leftovers. For some reason, leftovers always get a bad rap. This is comical to me since there are a lot of fresh recipes that can come out of those leftovers when you put your mind to it. Casseroles, pot pies, quiches, stews, fillings, and adding to sauces are just a few examples of what a little creativity can do to whip up another wonderful meal to prevent wasting food and saving money. All you may need to do is to take out your food processor or browse through your cookbooks, online and through my recipes for some inspiration.
Baked goods vanish quickly in my house. Some people will throw out stale breads or rolls as well as cakes and cookies, but this is sad unless mold set in when you can make croutons to delicious toppings for fresh coffeecakes to cream pies.
Another suggestion to reduce waste of baked goods is using a homemade mix. You can divide the recipe accordingly for the size of cake or the amount of biscuits, etc. that you can handle. Here is a great homemade cake mix recipe that is wonderful to keep around when you want just a small snack cake. I will share more of my homemade mixes with you soon because they’re so convenient, adaptable to your needs and can save you money over the commercial versions. You just may be shocked at the ease of what you may have been paying top dollar for.
Storing citrus fruit can be tricky. To prevent wasting fresh lemon that I want for tea, I poke a hole and squeeze just enough for my cup without resorting to wasting the rest. I just cover it with plastic wrap or place in a zip-locking sandwich bag. This keeps the cut lemon fresher. I get about three more cups out of it before throwing it away.
Something else that you may not have thought of to prevent wasting food and saving money is your current way of food storage in your refrigerator or freezer. Overloading the shelves is not to your advantage for preserving food. Stuffing food too tightly doesn’t permit the air to properly circulate, causing food to spoil more quickly. When you allow the food more space, the air is better regulated at the optimal temperature.
Overstuffing the freezer also has another disadvantage. You can often lose things. Buying less is better for rotation because freezer items can often become buried when doing your weekly shopping. After all, you don’t want to keep foods frozen indefinitely so keep them visible is yet another way to prevent wasting food and saving money.
My family devours bananas like a troop of monkeys with how many I buy a week. But even so, there are times when this fruit over ripens before they get to them. In the past, I make banana cakes, cookies, pies, breads, or DIY banana hair mask to a fantastic moisturizing facial mask. In the summer, I wrap in wax paper and store in the freezer like a healthier ice cream substitute.
Recently, my friend shared a tip to preserve bananas longer, which really helps. All you do is to wrap the stems with some plastic wrap. Believe it or not, it keeps the blackness away longer. Try it and you’ll be glad that you read this post.
These tips are far from everything that you can do to prevent wasting food and saving money, but can help get you started in the right direction. Do you have any special tips to add?