Let’s face it, we’ve all done it, we’ve let the broccoli, strawberries, and bread, go bad. Luckily for Halton residents, we have the GreenCart program that accepts those food items and more we’ve so easily let expire.
Let’s take a minute to look inside your GreenCart. Yes it sounds strange, but it will give you a clear perspective on what your family is throwing out. Is it all food scraps like vegetable peelings, fat from meat or apple cores? Or is there a whole head of cauliflower and half a loaf of bread hiding at the bottom?
You hear it on TV and read it in the newspaper — families are going hungry, yet many of us continue to throw out food we haven’t even touched. Now, we’ve all been there, myself included, but we need to start to make small changes if we’re ever going to make a difference. I personally want to reduce food waste within my home, and hope my experience of trying to do so may offer advice on how you can avoid these food mishaps too. Together we can feel better about ourselves because we will be saving money while reducing waste.
So here’s the plan. Never forget food in the fridge again!
Here are a few easy tips to get you started:
- Design weekly meal plans. It is surprising how nice it is to come home from a busy day to know exactly what you are going to make for dinner. This will also ensure that you only buy food that is a part of your meal plan, so there’s less chance for food to be forgotten.
- Grocery shop more frequently. People often say they can’t afford to spend more time at the grocery store, but these trips will be shorter and more efficient. Buy food for a few days at a time, and avoid the two hour shopping trip walking up and down each aisle. This is my down fall, I love doing it, finding the deals, but nine times out of ten, my great deals end up face first in the GreenCart.
- Grow to love leftovers. You can usually create an entirely new meal out of them! In my university days I was cooking for one, so I always had leftovers, but was never a huge fan of eating them. However, I realized the money I was wasting by just throwing the food out. So, I got creative. I would cook ground beef, eat tacos one night, make loaded nachos for my roommates the second night, and by the third night I was eating spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread!
- Introduce the Smörgåsbord to your friends and family. My Oma and Opa (grandparents) introduced this to our family many years ago, and it is something that I do now in my own house. To translate… it’s a buffet style meal that helps you clean out your fridge! Make a variety of items out of the food that is already in your fridge, it can be a hodgepodge of items, the more variety the better! This is a fun way to spice up meal time, and ensure you don’t waste any food in the fridge. I know I loved this dinner as a kid, but if you have a lot of stuff to get rid of, invite friends over and turn it into a fun dinner party.
Obviously these are only a few suggestions, but it is definitely a start. I know I am going to be more conscientious about my food habits, and take these ideas to heart. If you are looking for more ways to reduce food waste in your home, read this article in the Toronto Star, it provides some great additional tips. The more knowledge you have, the better chance you have of reducing your food waste.
Now it’s my turn to practice what I speak about. I’ve already designed my meal plan for the week, and yesterday I bought just enough groceries to last me for the next two days. Hopefully if I follow my own advice there will be less forgotten food in my fridge!
What are you doing to reduce your home’s food waste?