Barefoot by the Sea: Food Waste, A Guest Post

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Food Waste, A Guest Post

In these challenging times, frugal living is a necessity, and wasting food is a practice to avoid at all costs. If you have a large family, keeping costs down is essential, so here are some tips to avoid food waste.

Much of food waste consists of leftovers from the cooking process, or meals that go bad in your refrigerator. Some families are guilty of ‘refrigerator blindness.’ Once leftover food goes in there, it’s invisible.  You end up with an overstuffed fridge full of food that no one eats. When you request that your family consume the leftovers, the answer is “It’s easier to open up a new package of something, or eat junk food.” No wonder the obesity rate in America is so high!

One action that you can perform right away to preserve food longer is to make sure that your fridge is set at an optimal temperature. Thirty-five to 40 degrees is average, but check your manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular model.

Buying the best storage containers that you can afford may seem like an extravagance, but in reality it saves money. Makers of these containers, which have built-in ice packs, estimate that you can save $30 a week by using them faithfully.

Do you throw away recyclable aluminum foil or non-recyclable sandwich bags, even if they’re clean and in perfect condition? Don’t forget to reuse and recycle. As a general rule, the less packaging, the healthier the food item.

Save space in your fridge by storing potatoes and onions in a cool, dry place to slow the sprouting process. Tomatoes are another produce item that doesn’t need refrigeration, and some say that banana hammocks actually work.

To avoid overspending and having food go bad before you can eat it, always shop with a list. Studies have shown that shoppers who stick to their written list benefit in the following ways:

·       Avoid impulse buying

·       Save gas on running out for that one item you forgot

·       Let junk foods stay in the grocery store, where they belong

Planning menus and then buying only those ingredients in your chosen recipes is another way to save money and avoid waste. Liquor is a pricey item that is unhealthy for you. If you must buy it, try to limit your consumption.  There will always be a trade-off between money and time. Strike a balance by buying healthy packaged meals, but only eating convenience foods once or twice a week.

Another tradeoff is between eating healthy, fresh foods, which is usually cheaper vs. buying organic packaged foods. If you have more money than time, the latter option makes sense. Beware of excess sodium.

Sometimes you can find organic items at a closeout or bargain market, when it makes sense to stock up. Never buy more than your family will eat within a reasonable amount of time. Even frozen food has an expiration date. Remember that buying food is not the only option. More and more Americans are starting family or neighborhood gardens, even if it’s only a small plot. Coordinate with friends, and barter your excess.

When it comes to eating healthy, avoiding food waste and saving money, do a family time audit. Where are you willing to sacrifice one factor (such as time) to score high in the other areas? Where do you waste time running all over town for an item that you don’t really need?  Does the entire family pitch in and help with food preparation, or are the kids plugged in to their iPods until dinnertime? Any child over four can set the table or wash vegetables.

Think about simplifying your lifestyle, and becoming less dependent on Big Agriculture for your food. Moments spent gardening and cooking with your loved ones are priceless.
This guest post is being brought to you by Debt Consolidation, they are a resource for debt management and credit counseling.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I have been doing a lot of this lately! I am proud of the way I menu plan, try to buy whole, and actually plan for and eat leftovers, so as not to waste!


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