We went grocery shopping this weekend. Every trip to the grocery store is proceeded by a cleaning of the fridge – out with the old and in with the new. This past weekend I took a conscious look at what food I was throwing away. Leftovers. The end of pasta dishes, coleslaw, dead lettuce, mouldy cheese and decomposing cucumbers. What does food waste cost us?
There is the monetary side of food waste – money down the drain, as they say. There is the garbage side of food waste – adding to our society’s ever growing landfill. Then there is the production side of food waste – we over purchase, stores stock the shelves to meet our bloated needs, our food ends up in the landfill. All of these scenarios leave me with an unpleasant taste in my mouth. The question is, what can be done?
This week we are taking a look at what can be done to cut down on food waste. How can we better plan, better prepare and better use the food we purchase. Menu planning is the perfect place to start. Creating a menu plan is an effective way to curb over shopping. Do you ever walk the aisles of the grocery store and pick up things randomly. What seems like a smart purchase on Sunday ends up being a mistaken purchase come Friday. If we make a conscious decision to plan our meals we know exactly what we need to buy at the store – no excess purchases.
With this in mind I created a printable Weekly Meal Planner…go ahead and print it off for your home. I’ve included space to write out weekday and weekend meals as well as a grocery list. Each day is divided into breakfast, lunch and dinner. The grocery list is divided into the different areas of the grocery store…to make shopping a little easier.
How do we use our weekly meal planner? I take a few minutes to brainstorm the coming week’s dinners. This is usually based on what activities we have planned. Fridays are always pizza night…so that’s easy. I also try to plan to make large batch dishes at the beginning of the week, and incorporate leftovers into the rest of the week. For instance, making a big batch of pasta salad means we have lunch ready to go for the week. Roasting a chicken or a beef brisket means we can have tacos, stir fry or add meat to our pizzas. Meal planning means we are truly prepared for the week ahead and we are working toward reducing our food waste.
Where do I get my dinner inspiration? From all of you, of course! I have a “Food” board on Pinterest (that you should be following) that is jam packed with breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. Don’t forget to think seasonally. We are eating a lot of fresh fruit, corn and barbecue right now. The foods of summer in Ontario. So, what are you waiting for…print off our handy Weekly Meal Planner and reduce your family’s food waste one meal at a time.