Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Small Change: Stop Wasting Food

Hmm... writing April's One Small Change like that makes it sound so horrible... I suppose it kind of is.

I have a habit of making dishes to feed a family of ten, but in real life I have a family of three. So, we have leftovers. I put them in the fridge. The next night, I make another meal to feed several teenage boys (of which I have none), and leftovers go in the fridge again. This cycle tends to continue until a week has passed since I made dinner for the family of ten and I need to throw those leftovers in the garbage.

Waste. I feel bad about it. Really, I do.

The good news is, I have realised that there is something I can do about it! Here's my plan:
  • Clean the fridge. Purge the items that are far too old to eat. Bust out my spray bottle of Thieves cleaner and make that puppy shine. Now, I can see what food is in there, and I am less likely to not eat something because I can't see it. Maybe I can even come up with some sort of system of what items (ONLY!) are allowed to go on each shelf..... Or, is that too anal retentive?...
  • Plan my meals for the week/month. This should help me to stick to my grocery list and not buy things that aren't going to get consumed. This should also help to eliminate my nightly ritual of standing in the kitchen for a good half of an hour and still not being able to decide what to make for dinner.
  • Decide how produce items will be used before the box arrives. You may or may not know that we have our organic produce delivered to our door every other week. Our CSA posts what the box will contain (and recipes!) on their web site, a week before our box is delivered. I should take advantage of this. The winter is filled with a lot of leafy things that often get composted, rather than eaten. Or, I just don't have a plan for how to use a particular item, it turns, it gets composted. So, my compost pile is great, but it's kind of like I'm just throwing my money on top of the pile...
Yes, I think that's plenty for right now. Do you have any ideas/templates/tools to share that will help me with this change? I would love to hear it!


  1. You could make a rule to only make large batches of things that can be composted, that way if there is extra, after a couple of days you can throw it in the compost to feed next year's crop which will feed you and is part of a healthier cycle. There is always freezing, but if you are averse to that, you can also make a rule to not make a new meal until the last one is finished. Or... cut your recipes in half! ;)

  2. I think the ideas you have so far are great, and I would also add freezing, like the above commenter. I realized that I was making probably twice as many dinners as I needed and was having the same problem as you. Now I freeze anything that can be frozen (and I do it as soon as it's done since I know we won't be eating it.) Also, if we have enough leftovers of something, I absolutely do not make another dinner the next day. It's kind of nice because I end up with quite a number of relaxed dinner nights!