1. Plan out meals
Before doing your weekly grocery shop(s), think about what you want to eat for the week. Browse your favourite recipe blog, or scan Pinterest for new ideas. If you have an outline of what you’d like to cook for the week, you can shop more strategically. This process will ensure that you have the right types and amounts of food. Without planning, it is likely that you will end up with too much. Be particularly intentional when purchasing foods like produce and meat. These have the shortest shelf life, so you will want to be sure that you have time in your schedule to cook and eat these items a few days following their purchase. reebee will help you browse the best deals so you can effectively build your weekly menu!
2. Be smart about food storage
Many people assume that all fruits and vegetables must be refrigerated. That is not the case. In fact, each type of produce has very specific instructions to optimize its quality and lifespan. Keeping this in mind, all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled should be stored in the fridge. Use this handy guide to determine how to properly store fruits and vegetables.
3. Get creative with produce
Have a bunch of vegetables close to expiration? Roast them! All you need to do is chop your veggies, such as peppers, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms, into approx. 1-inch size slices. Toss the chopped vegetables in some olive oil, adding a pinch of salt and ground pepper. You can also get creative with your favourite spices here. Lay the vegetables out on a non-stick cooking sheet and set your oven to 400 degrees F. Let the vegetables roast for about 45 minutes, checking on their progress throughout. Remove them when they have caramelized and are soft to touch. Another tip for using extra vegetables is to chop them finely and throw them in a homemade soup.
As for fruit, freeze peeled bananas, berries, or pretty much any non-citrus fruit to use at a later time in a smoothie mixture. Overly ripened bananas can also be used to make banana bread or muffins.
4. Save your leftovers
Often leftover food is thrown away with the assumption that it will not keep well. However, there are some hacks that can help preserve and recreate meals so that they taste just as good a day later. For example, refrigerate then reheat pizza using your oven’s broiler setting instead of in the microwave to mimic its freshly baked texture. Be sure that when storing leftovers, you properly enclose the food in secure Tupperware or a glass container. If it is not sealed correctly, it will not remain fresh or flavourful. In addition, cooked food must be stored in the fridge or freezer no later than 1–2 hours after serving.
5. Make local donations
Cleaning out the pantry and have some non-perishable items that you no longer need? These are the perfect products to donate to your local Food Bank. Other plant or animal-based scraps and leftovers can be used on farms to feed livestock. Before throwing any food away, always look into what donation options you have in your region. And if it must be thrown away, make an effort to compost what you can.