Over time I have found the best way not to waste food (or anything else for that matter) is simply to buy LESS. What you say? Buy less? But we’re Americans!! How can anyone encourage that kind of behavior?!
The best way to make sure you don’t waste food, is to take the time to plan your meals. When you do that, you really are able to buy only what you need, and thus maintain the Waste-Free mindset; helping you save both food and money.
Don’t you hate when you buy a 5-lb bag of carrots, and only use a few because that was all you needed for your pot roast, but then a week or so later, you find you have a science project growing in your fridge because you forgot to use the rest of them or ran out of time to use them?!
Nowadays in the grocery store, you can easily buy smaller portion sizes. There are more and more individual/smaller portion items available in the produce department. You might have noticed individual carrots or celery stalks, but did you know you can get half or a quarter of a watermelon? I think that’s a really great thing, because for one or two people, you would go crazy trying to plow through an entire watermelon!
And if you don’t see what you need, be sure to ask someone who works there. What’s the worst they could say- no?! It never hurts to ask.
The same is true with meat or chicken in the meat department. If you see something, but you only want say half or a quarter of it, just ask the butcher to split it. All it takes is asking, and that way you just get exactly what you need.
Or if you’re like me, SUCH a bargain shopper, you end up buying way too much of something, simply because it was on sale. I’m just a sucker for a good deal! But does that help or hurt me in terms of Waste-Free cooking? It most often times hurts (again, back to the science experiment growing in the refrigerator..) Excess buying of a “bargain” just for the sake of a bargain is not a bargain if you end up trashing it.
Happy shopping and happy saving everyone!