Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, which works out to approximately $1,000 worth of food per household being thrown away every year because we don’t eat it before it goes bad.
So how can reduce your food waste?
Make your grocery shop a weekly thing, and do it on the same day each week. The night before your shop, plan your meals for the week ahead, basing them around what you already have in the fridge.
You may find that you can make whole meals out of what you have, or only need to do a small grocery top-up, which could save you loads.
Write it down
While it counts as getting organised, having a running list of foodstuffs that you need can help to reduce what you buy, as you will only get things as you need them. It is best to stick to the rule of “I only need what is on my list”.
The advantage of a list is that you won’t stray over budget. When you are sticking to the rule of buying only what is on the list, you can’t buy chocolate biscuits because you don’t need them; you will be able to eat healthier foods because there is no temptation to eat badly.
Leftovers for lunch
It is inevitable that there will be leftovers, but don’t throw them away. Put meal-sized portions into Tupperware containers and take it for lunch tomorrow. That way there is no food wastage, and you won’t have to bother making lunch because you have already done it.
A lot of food is wasted because many people don’t know how to use what is leftover. All you need to do to solve this problem is employ common sense. You can use leftovers to make a quick and easy meal – nobody says that dinner has to be fancy.
Say you have some sausages left over from yesterday. All you need to do is heat them up, steam some veggies, mash some potatoes, and do some gravy. Voila! Dinner is sorted.
Your kitchen rules
Forget about Masterchef and its obscure ingredients: make thriftiness the number one rule in your kitchen. No food is allowed to be wasted, because it can always be eaten later with something else. If you have young kids, employ the rule that many of our parents put in place: “if you don’t eat it, you’re going hungry”. Making a separate meal for a fussy diner is just wasteful, and the rule of the kitchen is not to waste anything.
Besides, your cooking will be excellent anyway, because your kitchen rules!
If you reduced food waste, what could the $1,000 savings get you?
- About two months’ worth of groceries
- Maybe six months of the electricity bill
- Up to 200 – 300 trips to work on public transport (depending on how far you travel)
- Return flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles (with a little spending money)
- More than 200 cups of coffee
When you put it in those terms, surely it’s worth the effort to reduce the waste?