Eco Tip #34 Meal Prepping
How many times has it happened to you to go to the shop and buy a whole bunch of specific ingredients for a fancy dinner you wanted to make tonight and then come home to find that you already had most of them at home? Or better yet, how many times have you gone to do your groceries without a plan and then ended up coming back with nothing you actually needed? As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
In Europe, more than half of the total food waste comes from households, coming in at close to 70% of the total food waste of the EU. This wasted food ends up in landfills, where it creates large amounts of methane – a greenhouse gas. Globally, landfills are the third largest human source of methane emissions, making up around 17% of all methane emissions. In the US alone, it’s estimated that eliminating food waste would have the same impact as taking a quarter of all the cars in the US off the road. That’s a large impact on the environment for just not taking the time to organise our fridge.
While some food goes to waste due to misunderstanding the “Best Before” and “Use By” dates or lack of knowledge, a large portion of food waste is avoidable through proper planning. While it may seem like a daunting chore, planning your meals is one of the best ways to reduce wasted food and save some time and money on your groceries. Here are some tips on how you can plan your meals and keep food out of the trash.
1: Make a list of what you have
Don’t let those grains collect dust! Rather than let food sit in your pantry, try to use what you have before buying more.
2: Plan your groceries around meals that work together
If you can’t finish a whole head of cabbage or cauliflower, plan for two or three meals that use them and to avoid wasting what’s left.
3: Plan for leftovers on lazy nights
We’ve all got days where we’d rather laze on the couch than cook. Plan those nights and cook a meal large enough for two or three nights so you can relax and whip up something with minimal effort.
4: Plan your meals ahead
Rather than stare into the fridge for an hour deciding what to cook, plan your dinners for a week and stick to it instead.
5: Prep your cooking
Save yourself some time and chop what you plan to use during the week and store it. That way, cooking will be quick and easy every night.
Hopefully these tips help you get your fridge and planning on track. It’s a process that takes time to get used to, so don’t get discouraged if you miss things or don’t stick to the plan when you first start. In the long run, it’ll save you time and money while also helping the environment, making it well worth the effort – especially for those lazy nights.