During holiday season, it’s far too easy to waste food (and therefore your hard-earned money) when your routines are all over the place. The holiday period is expensive enough without throwing away perfectly good food! Below are some of our top tips for you to save time, money and waste, both now and year-round.
Use leftovers as your guide
Think about what you usually have leftover and spend some time searching for recipes you can use to transform them into new dishes. If you always have leftover mashed potatoes, look for a recipe for mashed potato cakes. Use your turkey carcass to make turkey dumpling soup or whip up a batch of homemade chocolate cups filled with peanut butter and leftover cranberry sauce!
Use your freezer
It’s always a good idea to keep a large zip-top bag in your freezer that you can put veggie “scraps” into, such as the ends of carrots and mushroom stems. Once the bag is filled up, roast a whole chicken and use the veggie scraps to make a big batch of broth. This allows you to use the whole chicken as well as get a use out of veggie scraps that would have otherwise been thrown away. Vacuum sealing leftovers is another way of preserving food for another occasion rather than disposing of it.
Plan your meals
This one is no surprise! Planning your meals gives direction to your grocery shopping and ensures that the food you purchase is put to good use. If you’re new to meal planning, start simply: before looking up recipes online or in a cookbook, make a list of your family’s top five to eight meal types. Once you have a list of the types of meals you prefer, you’ll have a framework for your plan which will make finding specific recipes easier.
Before writing down a shopping list, make sure you thoroughly survey your pantry, fridge and freezer. Get out all the old bags of frozen peas and the year-old cans of coconut milk. How can you make use of what you already have? Get creative. Not only will this prevent you from buying things you already have, but it can begin a wonderful meal inspiration. If you find a bag of dry lentils, a can of tomatoes, half an onion and a few carrots, why not make a delicious soup? This will help you stick to your food budget and satisfy your need to be food efficient.
‘Tis the season to be saving, on both food and money! Avoid throwing away more than you need to this holiday period, by making use of your scraps, getting creative and planning ahead. Not only is this good for your budget, but it’s great for the environment, too!
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