Foiling Food Waste Frustrations

January 15, 2024 | Christine Hradek

food waste

There are a few things that frustrate me in the kitchen. Want to hear about them?

First, I am really disappointed when I waste food because I let it go bad. Sometimes things get pushed to the back and I lose track of them until they are freezer-burned, stale or spoiled. Second, I do not like it when my cabinet or freezer are messy and over-stuffed. Perhaps because the result is usually that things are more likely to spoil in that situation.

Today I am going to share some strategies I try to use to prevent these frustrations. I hope they are helpful for you:

My meal plan each week aims to use foods I already have first. I do OK with this, but sometimes I just want to try something new and things like frozen veggies build up in the freezer.

I do not purchase things with coupons that I would not buy anyway. It can be tempting to bulk purchase things when they are on sale, but this only makes sense for me if the item is a staple for me that I know I will use relatively quickly. Otherwise, overbuying tends to just lead to waste for me and I don’t actually save any money.

Every 6 to 8 weeks I try to skip or delay getting groceries to maximize using what I have. I will plan meals that use most of the open packages in the freezer and pantry. We all have different items that are likely to sit in partially used packages at our homes. These are some recipes that use the items I tend to let build up:

A few days of eating from the pantry and freezer and I can get things in much better shape and use what could have ended up going to waste.

What are the go-to strategies you use to prevent wasting the food you have? Share with us on our Facebook page!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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