Reducing Waste by Planning your Meals

 

Photo by Alfonso Cennam 

Author: Irania Ledesma 

Do you ever come home from work tired, hungry, and with no clue of what to make for dinner? Ordering pizza could be the easiest way out, but is it low waste? Bare market blogger Irania is here with a few tips on how to reduce your reliance on eating out.

 

My partner and I are good at cooking. After working in the restaurant industry for over 10 years, she learned tons of yummy recipes and all sorts of technical cooking skills. I enjoy experimenting with flavors and trying new food. Together, we’re a match made in culinary heaven.

My partner recently took on a new job and since then we’ve found our usual routine turned on its head. Where usually we’d be able to cook most of our meals at home, recently we’ve been relying on take out… sometimes five nights a week (eek!)

We have slowly  but surely, come up with some practices that have helped us get organized and plan ahead to continue making meals at home. We do go out for dinner or order in every now and then, but we do it on a more conscious basis.

Tips on how to reduce food-related waste at home

  1. Plan. Before going grocery shopping research some recipes for meals that you like the look of, write down the ingredients  and shop with those meals in mind. Stick to just one big grocery shopping trip a week to save time and money.
  2. Shop wisely. In addition to reusable shopping bags and bulk shopping, buying the right amount of food is another way to reduce waste. Up to 47% of all the food waste in Canada comes from consumer’s homes. Make sure to store produce properly to keep it fresh for longer!
  3. Meal prep. Taking a couple of hours during your time off to prepare and package meals for those busy days is a life saver. It can be as easy as throwing all the ingredients in a slow cooker to make a big batch of chili overnight. Meal prepping also helps reduce food waste by portioning the right amount of food you know you’ll actually eat.

Photo by Josh Wilburn 

Tips on how to reduce food waste when eating out

  1. Limit eating out. Sounds simple right? And it is! Try reducing the number of times you eat out (or order in) to just special occasions. It will be more rewarding and enjoyable when it has a double purpose!
  2. Share meals. Restaurant portions are sometimes bigger than they need to be. Sure, we all like to get more food for less money, but bigger portions are not always better. It is estimated that 17% of meals aren’t eaten. Sharing meals is not only a way to create a more intimate dining experience, but it will also help you to reduce food waste significantly.
  3. Take your leftovers home. Ordered more than you could eat? Always come prepared with one or two food containers to take your leftovers home. Then you’ll have tomorrow’s lunch sorted! Make sure to eat your leftovers as soon as possible to avoid forgetting about them and throwing them out anyways.

Eating is a universal human experience. So why not start taking steps towards more sustainable eating habits?  We all have to eat, and regardless of our preferences or dietary needs, our relationship with food can become a conscious part of our low waste lifestyle, even during our busiest days.

 

About the author: Irania Ledesma is a novice zero/low waste blogger born in Mexico City. Her interest in a low waste lifestyle began a few years ago when she downsized from a 4 bedroom home to a two bedroom apartment. Since then, she has adopted a minimalist and low waste lifestyle. She and her partner recently started documenting their journey on their zero waste blog, Wastelandia.

Irania has lived in Ontario since 2003. She works in healthcare and volunteers for the dog rescue organization Backstreet Dogs Mexico.

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