Here’s the scene: you’re at the grocery store and either you forgot your list, or you never made one in the first place. You randomly add items to your cart as you peruse the aisles. You wonder what sounds good for dinner tomorrow and try to remember if you already have a carton of milk in the fridge. Over the next few days, you realize you’ve purchased way too much stuff and by the end of the week, you’re throwing out half of what you bought.
Wasting food is such a bummer! We all know that deep sigh when we have to throw out food that was perfectly good when we bought it, but then never found a use for it. It’s not only food that’s being wasted, it’s also like throwing money in the trash (or compost).
If you struggle with overbuying food each week, we know Plan to Eat can help! Here are some of our best tips to help you reduce food waste!
1. Create a meal plan!
When you don’t have a meal plan, you go to the grocery store and buy food at random, or buy extra items that don’t pertain to any recipe. Much of this food ends up being wasted if you don’t figure out how to incorporate it into a recipe after the fact. Simply by creating a meal plan you can waste less food because when you shop, you will purchase food that works with your plan!
By creating your meal plans in Plan to Eat, you can have your shopping list automatically generated from the recipes on your planning calendar. This will help you to only buy the food you need, which will result in using more of what you buy!
2. Adjust your serving sizes.
Whether you’re cooking for a larger group or only yourself, you may need to adjust the serving sizes of your recipes to fit your family’s needs. This will help you avoid purchasing too much, that then gets wasted, or too little, which means you’re scrambling to feed everyone!
You can adjust the serving sizes of your recipes in Plan to Eat either from the planning calendar or in the recipe book. When your adjusted recipes are on the planner, the shopping list will reflect the correct amount of ingredients based on how many people you’re feeding. Then, when you’re grocery shopping, you can be confident you’re buying the exact amounts you need for each recipe!
3. Meal plan around what you have.
Once you’re on track with creating meal plans, you can build these plans around what you already have at home! You can use the search and filtering options in Plan to Eat to find recipes that meet your needs. Specifically, the “with any/with all” ingredient filters, which will allow you to add ingredients you already have and then generate recipes containing those items. This will help you to use up what you already have at home, so you’re not throwing out leftover ingredients from previous recipes.
4. Shop at home first.
Similar to number three, we always recommend “shopping” at home before you go to the grocery store! This can be as simple as looking in your refrigerator and cupboards with your Plan to Eat app in hand and crossing off items you already have. Doing this will prevent you from buying extra ingredients you already have at home.
Additionally, you can create an “on hand” store in your shopping list for items you always have at home. You could call this store “On Hand Items” and move spices, flour, water, salt, etc. over to that list. When you do this, those items will be in that store the next time they’re planned and clear out some staples from your list, so you’re not buying them every trip.
5. Use grocery delivery or pick-up.
Another option for only buying what you need is to send your grocery list to your preferred grocery store for delivery or pickup! The grocery delivery option in Plan to Eat allows you to send your list directly to a grocery service, which will eliminate the temptation to buy extra items that may not get used.
The first step in reducing your food waste is to simply start meal planning regularly. This will help eliminate buying items you already have or purchasing items you won’t actually use.
This month, we’re focused on helping you reduce waste in the kitchen! Here’s what’s coming up this week:
- Thursday February 11th: Pam of Greenily.Co is doing an Instagram takeover in our stories to give us some tips for going green in the kitchen! Be sure to Follow us on Instagram, so you don’t miss her tips!
- Friday February 12th: We have a blog post and video going live with grocery store hacks to help you save money and waste less in the kitchen!