In an attempt to avoid trips to the supermarket, I’ve signed up for a fruit and veggie box delivery. Delivery day (Tuesday) is quickly becoming the highlight of the week. I used to get a fruit and veggie box years ago, but found it challenging to make the best use of it and ended up wasting a fair bit. This time, I want to do better.
For the last few years, I’ve focused on reducing my food waste. This includes keeping a food waste diary, which I post as part of #foodwastefriday on Instagram. Over the years, I’ve shared lots of ideas on how to make food last longer and reduce waste. I’ve gone through my archives and put together some of my most popular tips.
I stood at the checkout, nervously watching as the total climbed, hoping it would match the tally in my head. I handed over the precious bills from a dog-eared envelope marked “Groceries”, the steadily reducing amount scrawled on the front read $140, $120, $100, $80. We were down to our last dollars. We’d been paid everything we were owed and there was no new work in the pipeline. We had a nine-month-old at home and a mortgage to pay. Times were stressful, very stressful.
The one relief was that, as I left the supermarket to take the groceries home, I knew I had enough to feed my family for the week. Come what may, I had that comfort. I had that comfort because I had a plan. I’d meticulously planned our meals for the week to match our diminished budget. From there, I’d made a list of exactly what we needed, no more, no less.
While I started meal planning out of financial necessity, five years later, with our cashflow woes long behind us, it continues to be a weekly ritual. Why do I still bother? These days, it’s less about peace of mind and more about taking a load off my mind.
Meal planning saves me time and money, but most of all it saves me from that dreaded task of trying to think up something to cook for dinner every night. If you are looking for an easy win to simplify your life, it’s meal planning. It’s not rocket science, but there are definitely some traps you want to avoid and some tricks to make it easier.
I’m on a mission to reduce my food waste and I’ll be checking in regularly on how I’m doing as part of #FoodWasteFriday.
How to avoid food waste traps
I want to share with you this TED talk on How to Avoid Food Waste Traps by Selina Juul. Selina founded the Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark (which is a leading nation when it comes to reducing food waste). Selina goes through common food waste traps and ways to avoid them. I particularly like her tip to take a photo of the inside of your fridge before you go shopping so you can remember what you’ve already got.
I’m on a mission to reduce my foodwaste and I’ll be checking in regularly on how I’m doing as part of #FoodWasteFriday. Since I last checked in on 10 February 2017, here’s my progress:
Demerit: I wasted one peach and four cocktail sausages. We’ve been away on holiday, before we left I grabbed the fruit left in the fruit bowl for travel snacks. The peach didn’t survive the travel. While we were away I over-bought on the cocktail sausages. The boys did a valiant effort at eating them all up over a number days, but the last four were a stretch too far! Continue reading “A #foodwastefriday check – 24 Feb 17”
Confession time: I’m an over-buyer when it comes to food.
I treat grocery shopping like a guilt-free weekly shopping spree rather than gathering essentials. You always need food, right? Who am I fooling? With my weekly food bill creeping up, and my pantry and freezer full, an intervention was needed.
I took the $21 challenge – you choose an aspect of your weekly food shop (or the whole thing!) and put a $21 limit on it. The aim is to get creative with what you already have to meet most of your grocery needs. I chose to set myself a $21 limit for dinners for my family of three for a week.
What I bought and what we ate
I usually spend around $200 a week for my entire grocery shop. I spent $147.16, saving around $50.
I spent $17.01 on ingredients for dinner for three people for seven days. From these ingredients, and what I already had in the house, I made the following meals:
Decluttering is not without its drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that I’ve become desensitised to the volume of waste my lifestyle creates.
Haste to waste
When I first started decluttering 18 months ago, I agonised over the number of trash bags that I filled. Sadly, now it’s just par for the course. I give things away, donate them and recycle. Trash is my last resort, but there is still a lot of trash.
Concerns over the impact of my decluttering decisions had largely slipped from my mind, until I read The Use It Up Challenge and Our Nothing New Year on Our Next Life. Our Next Life confronts the issue of decluttering and waste from both an environmental and personal finance perspective. They argue that in a haste to declutter (this trendy thing that if you aren’t doing you think you probably should be) we are not considering waste.
It’s Friday – Food Waste Friday. I need to report in and account for my food waste, but first I must share – well a new way to share!
Introducing Social Pantry
This week I tried out a new service linking up people with food to share with those in need of food. It is called Social Pantry and it’s a network of community food sharing Facebook pages. The pages connect people who have more than enough food, with people who know someone, or are themselves, in need of a little extra.
It is Friday – Food Waste Friday – so it’s time for me to account for my food waste over the past week. Today, I also want to talk about meal planning – specifically how to make meal planning work when you don’t like to stick to a meal plan!
It’s Food Waste Friday and I have some bad news to report.
For the last month our household has been plagued by illness. My son has recently started kindy (preschool) and has brought home all manner of winter bugs along with his very cute paintings. Needless to say our house is a bit of a disaster zone, as we limp through waiting for this to pass.
The disaster extends to our food waste. Over the last three weeks I’ve thrown away:
3/4 cup of leftover vindaloo (usually I’d say “yum, breakfast” but not with a tummy bug!)
a cup of tinned tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of quinoa
I am still suffering with a head cold, so I will keep it short for today.
I have one tip to pass along – don’t take the “best before” date on your egg carton as gospel. Often eggs are good for many days beyond this.
How do you know? The simple sink or float test. Put the egg into a glass of water – if it sinks it is good. If it floats to the top, it has gone bad. Sometimes the egg kind of hovers in the middle, bobbing like it wants to float, but with it’s nose still touching the bottom – it is still good, but not for long!