Many of us have had our moms make us clean our plates – spic and span. Not a morsel left behind. Now, this logic works well if the food is healthy, but the Standard American Diet (SAD) comprises of anything but healthy and nourishing plant-based foods. The last thing we want to advise our readers is to clean a plate of greasy fats and fried foods. Whatever be the food, one habit to inculcate is to reduce food wastage.
It is estimated that in the United States alone, almost 40% of all foods go down the gutter. A recent study revealed that the average American throws about a pound of food every day! It means that a family that is splurging $1500 yearly on foods, ends up wasting about $600 worth of it. Now, if that isn’t ‘SAD’ then I don’t know what is. Pun intended.
If you are someone who has jumped to a plant-based diet or just about any eater, then following a few key pointers will help you save on money and do the planet a favor. The last thing we need is a hill of wasted food that could have fed countless families – a reminder of our guilt, ignorance, and apathy. All of which are qualities unbecoming of a human.
Take A Look Inside Your Fridge
The first step to reducing food waste is to simply walk up to your fridge and take a look inside it. Take note of all the foods that you will need that week, and have an inventory of how much is there, what needs to be bought and how much of it needs to be bought. Several tracking applications can help you minimize the paper trail.
Plan Your Meals
The best way to make sure that you don’t waste a morsel is to plan your meals. During the weekend, sit down with a pen and your plant-based meal prep “diary”, if you have one. (We suggest you keep one, to track your progress and pen down the best alternative plant-based recipes that tastes good). Make a list of all the meals that you will be making for every meal, for the next 7 days. This should include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Based on the plant-based recipes make a list of the number of veggies, fruits, and condiments that you will need to make them. Do this every week. Take a look in your fridge to get an idea of the inventory, so that you don’t end up buying excess.
Learn To Chill With The Freezer
The freezer is your best friend. When in doubt of whether the food will last you through the week, toss it in the freezer. Are your fruits overripe? Then cut them, wrap them in a plastic bag or better yet in a container, and store them in the freezer. You can use them in your smoothies for next week. You do this when your cooking plans change and you need the foods to be tasting fresh – the same way you bought them.
Give Some Love To The Leftovers
There will always be leftovers. Even if you have planned a separate recipe for each of the different meals during the week, many at times you will be left with food of last night’s. Don’t waste them, and store them in the fridge. It isn’t nuclear waste that needs to be discarded the minute it comes to existence!
Learn to love your leftovers and reheat the food by placing it on a searing hot pan. The minute you do, the work that you need to do in the kitchen is reduced and you will have less food wastage. You can even try re-flavoring them and adding it to another dish if you are up for it.
Take A Trip To The Farmer’s Market
The farmer’s market has good and natural products that may not look ‘pretty’. Just because they don’t look shiny and glisten in the light, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do what it is meant to – it is a fruit, not a ramp walk model.
Most of these products are cheaper and can go a long way in helping you keep your wallet heavy and taut. The best thing about buying ugly produce is that it will be organic – produces are riddled with pesticides and fertilizers to ensure that it grows ‘prettier’ – would you want all of those to go inside of you?
Let The Creativity Flow
Getting creative with your food will help you beat food wastage for the most part. If you have plenty of mashed potatoes, make potato cakes or patties that you can use for the next meal. If the bread has dried out, then make croutons with them. It is just the idea of trying something creative, which you will get a hang of after a while.