Did you know that the average American family throws away approximately $1600 worth of food each year? If you’re like most people, you probably buy things you don’t need at the grocery store, or you may end up with leftovers that don’t appeal to family members. However, just by following a few simple tips, your family can eat healthy AND save money at the same time!
- Plan and buy only what you need: Saving money begins at the supermarket. Always plan and make a list before you go grocery shopping. Be sure to check your foods on hand in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Buy just what you need.
- Stock up: By having a well-stocked pantry, you can create delicious meals from foods that might otherwise go to waste. Toss cooked vegetables with whole grain pasta and salad dressing for a refreshing meal on a hot day. Mix canned beans with rice, toss with a salad, or mash and spread on a tortilla for a tasty burrito.
- Buy fresh produce every week: Fresh fruits and vegetables are great any time of day, including snacks. Don’t purchase produce in bulk, however, if it will go bad before you have time to eat it.
- Before you toss bruised or discolored fruit, cut off the bad spots and cook it in cobblers, pies, muffins, pancakes or breads.
- Add vegetables to soups or stews, or casseroles. You’ll add nutrients, color and texture to your meal while stretching your food dollar!
- Freeze foods, such as bread or baked goods if you won’t use them right away. Use it later in casseroles or for breading on poultry or fish. Leftover vegetables can be added to stir fries, sauces, pasta or omelettes.
- Cook with canned or frozen fruits and vegetables: Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a healthy alternative to fresh since they’re flash frozen when harvested. They are often more affordable and may be more nutritious, depending on several factors.
- Adjust your recipes to meet your family needs. Make changes according to your preferences and what foods you have on hand. Mix it up with different meats, vegetables or beans, seasonings or spices. Add nuts, rice or a whole-grain to stretch your food dollar. Substitute low-fat cheese in place of regular full-fat cheese.
Source: Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, Top 10 Tips to Waste Less Food.
Author: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Hamilton County