Do you sometimes get over zealous when starting a new diet or lifestyle?
If you are trying to eat healthy, do you buy all the things at the store? Even if you don’t know how you’re going to use them.
You’ve seen those memes that say something to the effect of “Almost left the grocery store without buying a bag of spring mix to throw, unopened, into the garbage in two weeks”.
We mean well, but if we aren’t intentional in our shopping and eating, it can all be for nothing.
Waste can become a big factor when you are trying to eat a real food lifestyle.
There are many causes of household kitchen waste, but here are a few I thought of for this post.
Causes of Kitchen Waste
- Buying too much at the store.
- Buying things your family doesn’t eat (because they should eat it).
- Not preserving the food that comes from your garden.
- Not eating leftovers.
- Letting things go bad in the fridge/pantry.
- Eating out instead of following your meal plan.
So today, I want to discuss steps you can take to limit the waste that comes out of your kitchen each week. If you are intentional with your waste management, you can save time and money while feeding your family real food.
5 Steps To A Waste Free Kitchen
The best way to know what your family is eating this week, so you don’t waste food, is to make a weekly meal plan.
But before you do that, look and see what you already have in the house. How can you incorporate what you already have into your meal plan?
This keeps you from buying too much new stuff and helps you to get rid of the old stuff.
If you have food coming in from your garden, plan to use it in your recipes or make a plan to preserve it for later.
Planning is the first step because it is key to not wasting food.
Of course, you need to stick to your plan all week in order for it to work properly.
That’s where the other steps come in to play.
Prepare your food ahead of time so you know what’s available.
It does no good to buy fruits and vegetables at the store if they aren’t accessible to your family. After all, fresh food doesn’t last long.
To make the most of the fresh food you buy, make sure it is ready to eat. That means cleaning and chopping food so that it is in bite sized amounts.
Your family is more likely to eat carrots and celery if they are already in smaller pieces so all they have to do is grab and go.
You can also make sure they know what’s available to eat by setting out fruits like apples, oranges and bananas on the counter or in a fruit bowl. This makes it easy to grab and go for your family.
You can also prepare by cooking meat ahead of time and sticking it in the refrigerator so it’s ready to be put in a meal.
You can do long meal prep sessions on the weekend, but it’s not necessary. Small sessions throughout the week can save you just as much time.
So if you are cooking ground beef for one meal, cook double the amount you need and store the rest in the refrigerator for a meal later in the week.
Prepared food is more likely to be eaten then raw food because it is closer to its finished stage. So the more you can prep ahead of time, the better.
This seems simple enough. Eat the food in your house before it goes bad, right?
But it may be easier said than done.
Here are 3 tips I have for you to make this work:
- Eat what you’ve prepped.
- Eat what’s on your meal plan.
- Don’t eat out extra days.
Basically, stick to the plan you made at the beginning of the week.
When you are making the plan, factor in times when you’ll be super busy or plan on going out.
That way you’ll buy the proper food for each occasion and not waste anything.
But not all of the food you buy is meant to be consumed in one week.
Store your harvest and bulk food properly for maximum lifespan.
For large bulk buckets and other items, the best place for optimal storage is a cool, dark place that doesn’t have rodents or other pests.
You may also need to store garden vegetables using the cold storage method. This may allow you to keep them months after harvest.
The key to good storage is a good rotation system. First in, first out works the best.
Compost your kitchen waste for recycling in the garden. If you follow the rules, composting can help you get rid of kitchen waste and nourish your garden as well.
To find out more about composting and what you should put in your pile, click on this blog post –> Compost Household Scraps Into Nutrient Rich Soil.
Food isn’t the only thing you can recycle to help your garden grow. Follow this link to find out more about recycling in the garden –> 10 Household Items to Recycle in Your Vegetable Garden.
If you follow these 5 steps, you should be able to keep your kitchen waste down to a minimum. This will save you time by not shopping as much and money by not spending as much on food each week.
So do what you can to keep your kitchen waste down each week. You won’t regret it.
How do you save money and time in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!