Do you want to to save money and time
and help the environment? Of course you do. You can accomplish all 3
goals by wasting less food. Americans waste 25% of the food that
they buy according to American Wasteland
by Jonathan Bloom.
Here are 3 things you can do to
reduce your food waste.
Make a Little List
Keep a shopping list on your
refrigerator. It doesn't have to be fancy. A simple notepad will
do. When you run low on any of your staples, just add that food to
the list. Down to your last 2 onions? Add it to the list. Is the
millet near the bottom of the jar? Add it to the list. Are
you going to make a special recipe? Add any ingredients that you
don't have to the list. When it comes time to go shopping, survey
your fridge and cupboards for any other items that are low, and add
them to the list. Your little list is now a power shopping list.
When you go shopping you will be able to buy everything that you
need, and you will not have to make those emergency, time-consuming
trips to the store to pick up one or two missing items.
Win the Supermarket War
When you go to the grocery store, you
are going to war. On the other side is an army of marketing
psychologists who have designed your local supermarket to entice you
to buy food that you neither want nor need. From the layout of the
store, which forces you to traverse the entire store to pick up a
carton of soy milk, to the placing of items on the shelves, to the
pricing of those alluring special bargains, everything in the store
is designed to entice you into buying more. And it works! Researchers asked shoppers entering grocery
stores about the items on their physical or mental shopping lists.
When they checked the shoppers' carts at the checkout line, 60% of
their purchases had not been on their shopping lists. For the creepy details see Supermarket Science - Stores Use Many Strategies to Sell You Their Products
Your power shopping list can help you
slay the supermarket Goliath. You know that it has the items that
you really need. Your decision has been made. It's a done deal.
You have overcome the wishy-washy indecisiveness that otherwise would
have allowed you to succumb to the 2-for-1 special deal on slightly
decayed artichokes. Yes, you can still get a few bargains, but your
power shopping list will shield you from undue temptation.
If you win the supermarket war, you
will obviously save money, but you will also help the environment,
because people eventually throw away a lot of the food that they
purchase on impulse. Modern agriculture uses water, exhausts our
soil, produces greenhouse gases, and pollutes our waterways. Of
course, we need to improve our agricultural practices, but we will
also reduce our environmental impact if we do not produce food that
finds its way into our garbage cans instead of our stomachs.
Allow Yourself a Second Helping
Allowing yourself to eat a second
helping will reduce the amount of leftover food that you throw away.
How's that? Well, if you have the idea that taking a second helping
during a meal is a sign of gluttony, then you will pile your plate
full of food when you take your first helping. Often you will not
eat all of that first helping food and will throw it away. Instead,
take a first helping that has about three quarters of the food that
you think that you will eventually eat. When you are done with your
first helping, you will not be as hungry, and you will be able to
make a realistic assessment of how much you should put on your plate
for your second helping. You can even put a little bit less for your
second helping than you think you will eventually eat, and go back
for a third helping. I have used this method for years and never
leave food on my plate.