Cut Your Grocery Bill By Cutting Food Waste: Top 5 Tips
Despite some recent good news about the economy, Americans are still focused on how to trim their grocery bills. But one of the most powerful ways to keep a lid on the food budget is also one of the most overlooked: Stop throwing so much away! Studies suggest that almost half of the food we buy ends up in the trash can. Cut down on food waste and you could cut your grocery bill almost in half!
Here are 5 tips:
1. Shop with a plan. Instead of simply throwing whatever looks good or is on sale into the cart, think in terms of meals. If you buy some meat, for example, think about what vegetables or sides you might serve with it and make sure you have all the ingredients for the entire meal. (That means shop with a list, whether it’s on good old paper or on your smartphone: you might want to try Recipe.com’s new shopping list app.)
2. Serve the most perishable items first. Most of us don’t have time to shop every day, so we buy several meals’ worth of food at once. To make sure that things don’t spoil before you have a chance to eat them, cook the most perishable items first. For example, a vacuum-packed pork tenderloin will last a week, but a fresh fish fillet should ideally be prepared the same day it’s bought. Delicate lettuces or berries may wilt or mold after just a day or two in the fridge, so serve them right away. Broccoli and apples, on the other hand, will be fine until the end of the week.
3. Keep an organized fridge. Keep track of what’s in the fridge (and how long it’s been there) so that ingredients or leftovers don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. If foods get close to their expiration date before you can use them, wrap them well, label them, and move them to the freezer if they’re freezable.
4. Store foods properly. Some fruits and vegetables, like bananas, tomatoes, and potatoes keep best at room temperature. But apples, berries, citrus, and pears (once they’re ripe) and most vegetables will keep longest in the crisper drawer.
5. Get clever with leftovers. Give leftovers new life (and appeal) by turning them into something else. Stale bread can be transformed into croutons or French toast. Leftover meat and vegetables can be turned into a pot pie.