One of the main ways to meet your food waste reduction goal is by making a meal plan. Many people fear this process will be long and boring, but who says you can’t make it fun? Here is a
template designed to help you get started. There are also many great phone apps that can help you simplify this process by allowing you to store and access your favorite recipes.
Here are some great tips to help you create a meal plan in a jiffy:
When making your meal plan, take into account your weekly schedule. Consider doubling your recipe or preparing multiple meals to save time on busy days. Think about your weekly schedule before you start jotting down meals on your planner. Make a note on the days your planning on eating out. This will help speed up the planning process. Also, take into account the time it will take you to prepare each of your meals. On the days you have more time available to prepare meals, consider doubling up your recipe or preparing multiple meals that can be easily frozen. This will help you save time on meal preparation throughout the week.
Reduce your eating out by planning fun meals on days you tend to order takeout. Avoid the temptation of ordering takeout by preparing one of your family’s favorite meals. Your family will really look forward to eating at home. For example, personal pizza nights are fun and include the whole family. It’s also a great way to use all the leftover pieces of onion, tomato, and bell pepper from previous days. Veggies make great pizza toppings, and kids really enjoy helping to prepare food.
Use themed meals to simplify your meal planning process and incorporate a “leftovers night” to ensure food won’t be wasted. Keep your meal planning simple by designating themed meals to your weekdays. For example, it’s easy if you designate Wednesdays as your “leftovers night”. By Wednesday, you will have accumulated leftovers from two previous dinners. The longer those leftovers sit in the refrigerator, the less desirable they will be. Be creative with your meal planning and think of fun themes, such as Taco Tuesdays. Another great idea is to plan on eating leftovers the day before you go grocery shopping. Get rid of those leftover containers, which tend to clutter the refrigerator. This way you’ll have more space in your refrigerator to organize and store all your fresh food.
Prepare multiple meals from one main food item. It’s always nice to finish off the week knowing you haven’t wasted any food. You can accomplish this by planning multiple dishes around on food item. Let’s say you make steamed rice one day, the next day you can use it to make fried rice, mint rice salad, chicken and rice soup, or rice pudding. Always think ahead and find new ways to save time, money, and of course food.
Be the Change: Save the Food
What if I told you that you can reduce the amount of food wasted and save on groceries and garbage? Sound pretty good, right? We have the power to make real changes in our community by simply implementing food waste prevention strategies in our kitchens. Start today by taking the
Save the Food Pledge and encourage others to do the same!
Special thanks to the Natural Resources Defense Council, EPA, and West Coast Climate and Material Management Forum for statistics and resources.