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Throwing Away Food

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I grew up very, very poor.

 

Throwing away food almost never happened. Now, I find myself throwing away food all of the time. I hate grocery shopping. So when I go, I will buy food for the week and make purchases that I think I will/should eat. But unless I am in the mood for a specific food it will go uneaten until it goes bad. I don't want to go grocery shopping every day after work in order to change this terrible habit. So I am wondering if any of you found yourself in a similar situation and how you changed it? Normally, I am very careful with money.

post #2 of 17

That happens to us sometimes too. But most of the time we are very careful. We find that if portions of food are put into small bowls and refrigerated, someone at some point will grab them for a quick snack. Or DH will take it to work for lunch! 

 

I used to throw away a lot more food than I do now. My DH never throws away food! I'm starting to get better about it. I just think how much that food COST us!

post #3 of 17
We rarely have to throw away food (but yes, sometimes it happens and I hate when it does!!)

When we see something starting to turn, we try to incorporate it into our next meal or DH will bake it into something -- banana bread, zucchini bread, pear crisp, etc. Many of our best recipes started out as trying to use up something before it went bad! If you're not in the mood to eat something, just cook it & freeze it (some things you could even just slice up & freeze raw).

The other thing that helps is sticking only to buying foods I KNOW we will eat. Then each week we get one 'new' thing... some of the 'new' things quickly become staples as we learn how to cook with them (brussel sprouts!), and others just get bought that one time & never again (persimmons -- not a fan!) But having only one 'new' or less-well-liked food per week makes it more likely that we'll actually do something with it (rather than get overwhelmed by a fridge full of stuff you don't like or don't know how to cook!) but still gives us variety etc.
post #4 of 17

Throw it in the freezer!  I used to waste so much food, it makes me cringe.  Now, we are so much better about it.

 

I save tiny bits of meats and vegetables for future casseroles and soups.

 

Right before tomatoes go bad, I throw them in the freezer.  When it is time for a tomato-based soup or chili, I roast them in the oven (often with onion and carrot) and then put them in the blender to make a soup base.  I also add all my saved little little bits of beef from roasts or tacos to the soup.

 

If it is just a spoonful (like ten peas or corn) I will put them in the "stock bag" in the freezer. I also add to this onion peels, bell pepper tops, stems from broccoli, celery, parsely, etc. 

 

Once I get a chicken carcass from a roasted chicken dinner, I will add the contents of the stock bag and a bay leaf, and make a giant pot of chicken stock.

 

I have also found that we are more likely to eat leftovers if frozen.  The fridge gives you only a day or two, but the freezer gives you a few weeks.  That way you aren't sick of eating the same thing.

 

If you do use the fridge, use a see thru container and/or plastic wrap.  If they can't see it, they won't eat it.

 

 

post #5 of 17

I find menu planning has helped hugely in reducing wasted food for us. We also grocery shop just once a week, and I plan the weeks meals based on what we like to eat and how much preparation time I will have day by day, and then draw up a shopping list from the plan. So that means no spur of the moment purchases, which does add to some savings, and little or no waste at all because I know exactly what I am going to use through the week. I sometimes switch meals around during the week for any reason, but sometimes I just need to tell myself "I'ld prefer something else today,but the menu says this, so stick to it".

post #6 of 17

meal planning pretty much solved this problem for us and when combined with a vacu-sealer I rarely throw food away.

 

Each week I scour the cupboards/freezer to see what I have and then build my meals around that, purchasing only what I need to round out the meals.

 

I regularly "feed" the freezer for those days when we might change on our mind and not what was planned.  Those elements that we don't use are then frozen (if possible) for another time.

 

The vacu-sealer comes in handy when I notice food on the verge of going bad that we haven't eaten.  You can get additional weeks by freezing meats, cheeses, leftovers, cooked pastas, etc.  Many fruits and veggies  freeze well and can be incorporated into  smoothies, soups stews,

post #7 of 17

Meal planning helped us with this too. If you planned salad for Tuesday and Tuesday comes, you could do salad on Wed. However, there comes a point when the food will start going bad so you can only delay so long. I tend to plan meals with fresh produce at the beginning of the week. Towards the end of the week I use less produce or I make another trip to the store to get a second round of produce. We also have chickens so if anything is thinking about going bad, we give it to them.

post #8 of 17

There's a few things I've done to counteract this.  One is to make smaller portions of different things for meals--like yes there's a salad, but a smaller amount than I used to make.  Then if it's a hit, I'll make it again in a couple days.  (We used to have salad sitting in the fridge, now it gets eaten.)  Or like this morning, I made a breakfast muffin cup recipe that was new to us....I made one for each person.  Since they were a hit, next time I'll do 2 for the adults and one for each kid.  ;)

Also on the salad subject, if I have time when I take out say, a cucumber and tomato to put some on the sandwich for DS1's lunch, I'll cut the rest of it for salad or sandwich slices and just leave it in a Gladware container in the fridge.  That way it's all ready to just pull out and add to the table.  I *think* we eat more veggies this way because they're ready, and the stuff is not sitting in the crisper drawer rotting.

 

I also started teaching the kids to just take a little bit and put it on their plates and then they can always take more.  I mean a  LITTLE--like I split a sandwich half for my 4 year old, half for my 2 year old.  Probably 1-2 tablespoons of side dishes.  A LITTLE.  They *seem* to eat better with less food in front of them.

 

And when they ask for something like a piece of fruit or toast--my 4 and 2 year old always say they want toast if they see somebody with it but they rarely acutally eat much of it....I make ONE slice of toast and split it.  I slice ONE orange.  I'm amazed at how much of the time I don't end up having to get more, and when I stopped saying 'no', now I'm noticing their focus shifting off of continually begging for food.  I don't say yes to EVERY request...or not IMMEDIATELY as in "Yes you can have some fruit--AFTER dinner."   But I do say yes to *most* things.  And I have said no to one person having a whole piece of fruit, like an apple, they never seem to finsih it and nobody wants to eat it when it's brown.

post #9 of 17

There's not usually lmuch food left over to throw away unless the kids have been sick and they aren't eating at all.   I suck at meal planning but I do like to look at the sale flyer and if there's a super sale on something I'll plan out that week's dinners and include the sale item in my meals.  Like 2 weeks ago broccoli was on sale at Aldi so we did broccoli cheese soup with leftovers for lunches, broccoli quiche, fried rice with broccoli and little bits of other leftover veggies in the fridge, and steamed broccoli and carrots over pasta with parm cheese.  I don't plan lunches.  They tend to be leftovers or sandwiches.  Breakfasts are homemade yogurt with granola and leftover bits of fruit or oatmeal with pantry staples like coconut and sunflower seeds.

post #10 of 17

Two days ago I poured six egg whites down the drain after making Creme Anglaise and I felt awful, but what was I to do with six egg whites at 10pm.  Yes, I could have made a meringue, but I was tired, or I could have cooked and eaten them, but I was full from dinner.

 

I often feel as if I waste veggies when I prepare meals because I don't cook everyday, and then of course I don't care for leftovers so prepared meals often ruin.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post

Two days ago I poured six egg whites down the drain after making Creme Anglaise and I felt awful, but what was I to do with six egg whites at 10pm.  Yes, I could have made a meringue, but I was tired, or I could have cooked and eaten them, but I was full from dinner.

 

I often feel as if I waste veggies when I prepare meals because I don't cook everyday, and then of course I don't care for leftovers so prepared meals often ruin.



Egg Whites freeze very well.  Just pour them into an ice cube tray or small tupperware.  I thaw them and add to muffins, egg dishes, etc and they have been just fine.  

 

I freeze a ton of little leftover bits and pieces.  Odd bits of tomato sauce, leftover soups, milk that is about to expire...all kinds of stuff freezes fine.  The texture may not be perfect, but I often just throw this stuff into soups, smoothies, casseroles.   

post #12 of 17

Perhaps next time you could put the egg whites in the fridge until the next day and make eggdrop soup or add them to oatmeal.  Cook them in scrambled eggs... Just include them in something you or the kids will eat.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post

I often feel as if I waste veggies when I prepare meals because I don't cook everyday, and then of course I don't care for leftovers so prepared meals often ruin.


Maybe there are ways you can reused leftovers to make them more palatable to you? Use leftover cooked veggies, rice, etc. in a quesadilla, quiche, calzone, tacos, stir-fry, soup... I don't mind leftovers at all so I just combine them into mini-meals 'as is' and eat them for breakfast or lunch, but there are lots of ways to eat leftover food that don't involve actually eating the same meal the next day.
post #14 of 17

The splitting of the food is a great idea!!! I think sometimes alot of food is just overwhelming. I seen the same thing in the elderly. Often, we would just put one item of food in front of a person instead of the whole tray for someone who was eating poorly and they ate more overall.

post #15 of 17


exactly.  this is what we do too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post





Egg Whites freeze very well.  Just pour them into an ice cube tray or small tupperware.  I thaw them and add to muffins, egg dishes, etc and they have been just fine.  

 

I freeze a ton of little leftover bits and pieces.  Odd bits of tomato sauce, leftover soups, milk that is about to expire...all kinds of stuff freezes fine.  The texture may not be perfect, but I often just throw this stuff into soups, smoothies, casseroles.   



 

post #16 of 17

Menu planning has also helped reduce food waste for my family. I look at using what we have on hand first before decided what new things we need to buy. I don't buy perishable stuff without a definite plan for how it will be realistically used.

 

Other things that help:

make smaller portions so there are not leftovers

buy smaller amounts that I know will actually get used

plan leftovers into the meal plan or freeze leftovers right away

buy frozen fruits or veggies and use small portions without everything going bad before you are finished with it

cut up or cook  foods right away so they are easy to grab for meals or snacks throughout the week

buy foods with a longer storage life

 

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn579-1.htm

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/FreezerChart.htm

 

In the case of leftover egg whites I would have saved them to cook the next day, planned in advance how I was going to use them up or fed them to my dogs.

I consider it a lot less wasteful to feed my dogs something than dump it in the trash or down the sink.

 

 

 

post #17 of 17

I do a very simple version of meal planning.  Usually after a shopping trip, I hold the shopping receipts in one hand, my meal planning book (just a plain ruled exercise book) in the other, and write down what I think I can make based on every perishable item on the list.  I don't do that for canned food or dry stuff, just fresh stuff.

 

So I usually have a list of 8 - 10 items I will cook based on fresh things I have, then I might add a few that would go well with this list, possibly out of frozen stuff I have or in the pantry.  Everyday I'll just pick from the list and cook what I feel like making.  I find this method less stressful than very rigid, detailed meal planning.

 

Oh and I try to use up fresh produce before I shop again.  I like to get our fridge very empty sometimes.  This would reduce waste and stretch out your shopping trips.

 

 

 

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