In this week's Project Nowaste post, I want to briefly discuss how to prevent having too much perishable food around. It's easy to lose track of what food you have in the fridge if you don't plan for meals when you go food shopping.
A lot of people don't plan for meals anymore and I think that's where a lot of the food waste comes from. So, to start, sit down every week (or two or whatever works best for you) and make a meal plan. Look through your fridge, freezer and cabinets and see what you have on hand that will be expiring soon. This will also help prevent you from buying more of something you already have enough of or won't be using that week. Now that you have an idea of what you have in stock, start planning your meals.
Organize your meals based on what will expire first. So if you have some chicken that's about to expire and some plain yogurt a day or so pass it's pull date, then make something with those items earlier in the week. Also, just to minimize your costs each week, you'll want to plan meals with products you have on hand, even if they are in no danger of expiring. This ensures that you keep a good rotation of non-perishables and you won't be stuck with 3 pounds of buckwheat that you have to use up all of a sudden further down the road when you finally realize it's really old.
Now, make a list of items that you don't have on hand and need for the meals you planned and try to limit yourself to purchasing just those items. If you do end up buying more than you think you'll eat because it's on sale or because it's in bulk and you want to stock up, then when you return from the store make sure that you freeze, preserve or otherwise store the additions to last longer.
If you are already doing this, then give yourself a pat on the back. If not, this will give you something to work on!