I hate cleaning out the fridge. Granted, in truth I don’t know anyone who enjoys cleaning out the fridge, but still. It’s not one of my favorite chores. Putting aside the fact that it usually makes for extra dishes and there’s almost always one science experiment of questionable growth, the real reason I hate it so much is the guilt. Inevitably, there’s at least one (formerly) good meal worth of food that I end up throwing out. It reminds me very clearly that I can be so wasteful sometimes and take my ability to buy more food for granted. I don’t do it on purpose, of course. In fact, I’d love to blame it on the design of the fridge and point to the fact that it usually gets lost behind the almond milk, but truthfully, I sometimes fail to remember there were leftovers and at other times just don’t want to eat the same meal for the fourth day in a row.

Recently I have started to batch cook on weekends because I find my weekdays so busy and without any extra energy for cooking. It’s a new endeavor, but I’m worried that this is going to further exacerbate my tendencies to waste food. (There’s simply more food to waste!) So, that’s why I’m setting up this 5-Minute Friday Challenge. It’s mostly for myself, but I figured maybe this would resonate with others and perhaps together we could help each other out. The challenge is to not waste any leftovers this week. I’m extending this to include fruit and veggies, too, as those can sometimes languish in the drawer until their molecular structure qualifies them as a liquid. (Please tell me I’m not the only one here?)

It sounds like an easy challenge with a clear plan of attack — just eat more! However, we could also put a few minutes of thought and planning into our efforts for success without adding to our waistline.  🙂  Here are some thoughts and tips I’ve come up with to help us both do our best this week:

  1. Shop often for small amounts. I like to do weekly grocery shopping, but it’s really better when I go twice as then my produce is fresher and I’m less likely to wait too long to eat it.
  2. Buy frozen when possible. I do this with vegetables especially. It’s so much easier to just use what I need and put the rest of the bag back in the freezer.
  3. When batch cooking, store a couple servings in the freezer. I am finding that if you skim one serving right off the top and pop it in the freezer you don’t miss it and then you have an emergency store of frozen meals for nights when you run out of food.
  4. Make more than one dish. This might sound counter-productive, but if you’re the type that doesn’t want to eat the same thing every day, give yourself a couple of options and switch back and forth to change it up.
  5. Plan ahead. Not only what you’re going to cook this week, but also your grocery list — and be specific! Don’t just list “tomatoes”. List “4 medium sized tomatoes”. Otherwise you might buy more than you need.
  6. Think of a catch-all dish that you could make that would use up random leftovers — like a stir-fry, smoothies or veggie soup.

Perhaps you’re already good at this — if so, please share some tips with the rest of us! I for one am excited to start in with a new energy and focus to end my waste of food and with it my guilt. Plus, perhaps a cleaner fridge? It’s a win-win!

Don't Waste Your Leftovers | The Giving Back Society | Helping End Food Waste

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