When you are looking at eating and maintaining a healthy diet, it can be a tricky juggling act to perform. You want to ensure that you eat healthily, but you also want to ensure you do not waste any food. So, how can you balance the two, and what can you do to keep food waste to the bare minimum?
What new systems can you integrate into your life, and how can you make everything just a little easier and simpler for yourself?
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Focus on Storage
Wherever you go grocery shopping, and you purchase food, always think about how you will store it once you get home. For example, how are you going to keep fresh fruit and vegetables stored so that they are good to eat for more than just a few days? Suitable storage containers and packets that are airtight will save you money, and they will help your groceries maintain their high nutritional value and content.
If you have inadequate storage, you may wish to invest in new tubs and jars. You may also want to think about heading to the grocery store with your own reusable storage containers, as this can help cut down packaging waste too.
Purchase Dried Powders and Herbs
Fresh herbs can be nice to have in your kitchen. However, before getting in fresh herbs and ingredients, think about how much they will be used when cooking. If they are not going to be used on a daily basis, you may well find that you are better off using dried powder and herbs. This may mean purchasing herbs and ingredients such as bulk garlic powder in larger quantities that you can store and use when you need to.
When you purchase dried products, you do not feel the time pressure to use them up quickly before they go bad. You also do not end up wasting any unused product, as you can restore it and simply use it up at a later date.
Weigh Out Ingredients
When you are cooking and preparing meals, do you ever weigh out ingredients? If you are not weighing out those ingredients, you may find that you are adding or using too much of something. Or, on the flip side, you may find that you are not using enough (which again means foodstuffs will spoil and get thrown in the trash).
When you weigh out ingredients (especially those that are fresh), you can use only what you need and then store or freeze the others for future use.
Batch Cook and Freeze
If you have purchased a lot of fresh food on your most recent grocery store visit, then think about batch cooking and freezing. When you focus on batch cooking, you can use up everything you have, cook it through, and then simply reheat it when you want it. Batch cooking can save you time, and it can certainly be more convenient.
To make the most of batch cooking, and to cut down on food waste, try and plan out the ingredients you will use. Try and shop seasonally if you can, as this will ensure that items last longer than those that are forced or produced in artificial climates/surroundings.
Exercise Portion Control
A lot of food waste can derive from excessive portions. This means that you must start to have greater control over your portion sizes and over what you put onto your plate at each meal time. When you exercise portion control, you can ensure you get all the nutrients and calories you need without piling on excessive amounts and upsetting the balance.
With portion control, you will prepare less and cook less, and this will, in turn, mean less waste comes from your kitchen. Portion control, in combination with weighing ingredients, can help you become more aware of the food that you are consuming and help you ensure you go for quality over quantity each time.
Create Meal Plans
Meal planning for the next few days, or even for the week ahead, can help you. It can allow you to use up all of the ingredients that you have in the fridge and in the cupboards. It can help you get more creative in the kitchen, and it can allow you to try out recipes that you may not have even considered before.
When you put together meal plans, you can make sure that nothing gets leftover or wasted. Meal plans can also allow you to have greater control over your calorie intake too. Taking an afternoon out each week to plan the meals for the week ahead will be beneficial to your efforts.
Turn Leftovers into Something Exciting
Even after careful preparation and planning, you may still find that you have leftovers. However, leftovers do not have to be seen in a negative light. In fact, there are lots of ways you can utilize leftovers and even create new dishes or menus.
For instance, you may be able to use leftovers from a hot meal to make soup or broth.
Or, you may find that hard bread can be turned into breadcrumbs or croutons. To make the most of leftovers, try and use them up as quickly as possible. And, then of course focus on storing them quickly and safely to ensure they can be consumed safely.
Always Check the Offers and Special Buys
A lot of the offers that entice you in and possibly even encourage you to buy more than you initially wanted are not always as good as they seem. Some special offers and special buys can be overinflated. And they can offer products and goods in smaller packages and packet sizes too.
Before picking up a deal or offer because it simply looks good, always try and take some time out to do the math. See how many pounds or kilos you are getting for your money, and see if it would work out cheaper to buy individual items as opposed to those on multi-buy deals.
Also read: Kitchen Waste Management