Did you know that you throw out about 25% of the food you buy? According to Consumer Reports, you end up tossing an average of 1 out of every 4 bags of groceries you spend your hard earned money on.
You probably don’t even notice it. A head of lettuce wilts before you use it. Leftovers get forgotten. The last few slices of bread go stale. It all adds up. Without knowing how to save money and food as a shopper, you end up throwing hundreds of dollars worth of food in the garbage each year.
The good new is, you can easily change your shopping habits to reduce food waste and save money. In fact, there’s one simple habit you can start right now that will massively reduce the amount of food and money you’re wasting… meal planning!
Meal planning means making a menu for the week and building your grocery list off of that menu instead of buying things without a solid plan of how and when they will be used.
Since everything you buy will be planned for, very little will end up being wasted. That’s more money in your pocket, and far less impact on the planet. Win win!
Set aside time each week to make your menu and list, and buy your groceries. If you find it’s too much to do all at once, plan one day and shop the next.
Check FoodHero and your local flyers to see what items you can get the best price on and plan your menu around them. Great deal on peppers and chicken? Fajita night! 2 for 1 diced tomatoes? Spaghetti bolognese!
Plan meals around items currently in your fridge so they get used up before going bad. Recipes apps like Epicurious or Allrecipes can help you figure out how to use what you have. Bought a big bag of apricots on a whim and now have no idea what to do with them? Type “apricot” into the search bar of almost any recipe app to get ideas.
Plan to make double portions for dinner so you can take leftovers for lunch the following day. Brown bagging it can be really fulfilling when it means your wallet stays filled too.
It doesn’t make sense to buy everything one day and expect it all to still be fresh 6 days later. If you plan and shop on Sunday, for example, plan another small grocery run for Wednesday to get any produce or meat you want later in the week.
If you typically end up with lots of leftovers, leave a day open each week to take care of them. It’s not very exciting, but think of it as a night off. Since all you have to do is reheat a few things, you’ll have more time to relax, get things done, or spend some of that money you’ve been saving!
There are a lot of simple things shoppers can do to prevent food waste and save money, but meal planning is one that will have a significant impact almost instantly.
Meal planning isn’t glamourous. But let’s face it. Being a superhero rarely is. Clark Kent still has to show up for work without anyone knowing he saved the world on his lunch break. You may never get the key to the city for meal planning, but in your heart you’ll know you’re saving the planet, one grocery list at a time. At least you’ll have saved plenty of money to treat yourself, superhero style ;-)
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Thank you for your interest in FoodHero and in the food waste cause.
We’re not quite ready to help you save money on perfectly fresh surplus food.
We’ll let you know as soon as we’re launching!