Guest Blog Written by Mercedes Cant
Mercedes provides invaluable help with @allfoodisfood and the food is food blog.
Picture this: dinner is over, your kid ate half their meal (vegetables excluded, as usual), you have an entire bowl of rice and beans languishing on the table, and a quarter of a roast is staring at you accusingly from the cutting board left on the counter. You don’t want to waste all this food with the whole “Canadians waste 40% of edible food” statistic we all keep hearing, but what are you to do with all these leftovers?
Don’t despair – there’s so much you can do, to prevent AND use what would become wasted food. As you’ll find out, food waste is actually really easy to manage! Here are five easy tips:
Plan Your Meals
One of the biggest sources of food waste in my own house was the lack of planning I put into my meals. Now, I only cook for two, so I really have no excuse – but even if you have a big family, a little bit of planning is key! (Think of it like a pinch of salt in a sweet baked good; a little bit goes a long way towards a flavourful product!) Sit down the morning of grocery day, and plan out your family’s breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. List out all the ingredients you’ll need, and cross out the ones you already have, to be sure you don’t miss anything or overbuy. You can involve the kids in this step too – let each one pick a meal a week, and show them everything that goes into making it!
Shop with a List
Now, take the list you made from the exercise above to the grocery store. Seriously – put it in your phone, write it on a piece of paper and shove it in your pocket, it doesn’t matter. And bring a pen! Cross everything off when you put it in the cart. You’ll be thankful you brought it when you’ve been down four aisles and you aren’t sure whether there’s butter in the bottom of your cart or if that glint of gold foil you see is a chicken bouillon cube.
Store Food Correctly
When you get home from the store – hopefully without any frozen food melting on the way – make sure you put your food away immediately, and put it in the right spot! Don’t let your six year old throw the tomatoes in the fridge, or your ten year old squirrel away the strawberries to their bedroom.
If you’re not sure where something goes, just Google it. There’s a tonne of information out there, and it’ll give you a chance to teach your kids to be food conscious!
Consider Portion Size
This tip comes in before – and after – you’ve used all your carefully selected and stored ingredients to make a delicious meal for your household. Whether you let your kids take their own food or plate their dishes for them, make sure that you pay attention to your portion sizes.
I’m talking about what they put on their plates, yeah – we don’t want anyone’s eyes being bigger than their stomachs – but also how much total food you make. Try not to cook huge amounts of food if you’re unsure how you’ll use the leftovers! Believe me, I fall into that trap way too much. There’s only so much lasagna a person can eat before they go nuts.
Use Your Leftovers (#Leftovers Challenge)
Finally, when you do make a bit too much, and you have some leftovers, be sure you use them! Check out the #LeftoversChallenge posts for some ideas on how to use yours. Whether you eat them straight up or make something entirely new, post and show us, we’d love to see!
Well, there you have it, folks! Five easy ways to prevent and reduce your own food waste. It’s entirely within our power to stop food waste in our homes. And really – it’s obviously great for the environment, but it’s also great for your wallet – it’s a win-win for all of us!