I have a confession to make. I am a horrible food waster.
Typically I am not a waster of food on my plate. Most times I take only what I eat, and don’t toss a bunch in the garbage. My kids however, are a different story. One day they eat a lot, the next day, next to nothing. How do I know what day it will be today when I serve them? Sometimes a lot of what is on their plate is thrown away. Veggies, bread crusts, too much rice… Sometimes as I am clearing their plates I take a few bites of their wasted food, to reduce some of the guilt of trashing it. My husband will do the same, depending on how mangled it is.
Next – I have not been very good at managing the fridge. I normally whip into the grocery store without a plan, making it up as I go along. I see fruit and veggies that I think we will probably eat, so I buy them. I get stuff for a few meals and wing it for the rest. Then the week happens and some of the vegetables I bought don’t get used, some things expire. Every day I am planning on the fly. It is stressful and I often don’t have what I need.
Then when I reach into the food crisper, something slimy and wet crosses my hand. Ewww. I pull out a gross bag of rotting tomato, or cucumber, or lettuce. I look deeper – there is also expired sour cream and salad dressing. I check the mayo, only 3 more weeks until it expires too. Bah!
My husband hates it when I throw out food.
Now that I am really considering my food footprint, I realize that food waste plays a big part of it. I mean, I am concerned about all the food packaging garbage and the distance my food has travelled to get to me. These things are not good for emissions! Given this, why do I keep tossing?
The reason is simple. I didn’t care enough. I also was a bit lazy, yes. I did not have a very strong connection with our food, and what it takes to grow it, produce it and get it to our house.
Frugal Girl is really great at tracking her food waste. She has a series called “Food Waste Friday” where she owns up to anything that went bad at her house that week. Last week, it was cilantro, cucumber and chicken. The week before, it was rice and sour cream. She owns up to it all, and challenges others to do the same.
Okay, here it goes:
This is my waste this week – egg noodles, broccoli and carrot. The broccoli has definitely had it. Because it creeps me out that the other stuff might have touched the broccoli, the rest has had it too.
Despite this, I am making progress. I now care more about our food and where it comes from and how it gets to us. I sit down on Saturday morning and write out what we will be having for supper on each night of the week and post it on the fridge. From there I draft the grocery list. Then I go to the farmer’s market for as much as I can, and then get everything else at either the grocery store or my new found love, Bulk Barn. I bring all the food home and fill my canisters, cupboards, fridge and freezer with care. I take stock of my stock. I know what I have on hand and what we will be eating.
Secondly, I actively use up leftovers. I take them for lunch (much cheaper!). I feed them to the kids for lunch (much easier!). I work them into our suppers (less work!). I try to clear out leftovers every 2 days or so. I note dates on the dairy items that expire. I am more careful. I treat our stock of food with the respect and love it deserves.
My husband now comments how he likes our “just in time” food inventory. I like it too.
What about you? How do you manage the fridge?