Home food waste starts at the grocery store. How often have you picked up items on a whim with the best intentions, but had no actual plan for them? Do these items end up at the back of the fridge or pantry never to see the light of day? You are not alone, in fact, twenty percent of the food we buy never gets prepared.
There’s a fix for that: grocery lists! Before you go shopping, plan out your meals for the week and take stock of what you already have on hand. This one simple task will keep you from buying extra items at the store, take the stress out of meal time, and did we mention, save a family of four, up to $1,500 a year?
5 Tips for Making a Meal Plan and Grocery List
Getting started is always the hard part. Here are a few easy ways to help you pull a meal plan together and put pen to paper.
- Ask your family for ideas. They will be more likely to eat it if they had a part in planning it. Our collection of Kids' Most Requested Dinners is a good place to start!
- Take stock of what’s already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer and plan meals that use those items. Got chicken, ground beef or pasta on hand? We have lots of ways to turn those ingredients into dinner: 80 Reasons We Never Get Bored of Chicken Breasts, 14 Ground Beef Dinners That Are Anything But Boring, 16 Irresistible Pasta Dinners. For more ideas, just search our site by entering what you have.
- Group recipes with like ingredients, especially items that will be hard to keep fresh such as herbs and vegetables. Looking at you, tomatoes, basil and zucchini.
- Work leftovers into your plan, either as an easy next-day lunch or as a reinvented dinner. These hack ideas prove leftovers don’t have to be lame.
- When in doubt (or a hurry!) plan breakfast for dinner, aka brinner. Omelets, frittatas and egg bakes are all brilliant ways to use up fresh herbs, vegetables and cheeses before they go bad.
4 Easy Meal Plans with Grocery Lists Already Made
We’ve done all the planning, so all you have to do is the shopping. Think of these easy meal plans and grocery lists as money in the bank.
Making a list (and sticking to it!) is just one of many small ways that you can make a big difference when it comes to food waste at home. What other tips and tricks do you use to taste not waste your food? Tell us in the comments below or join the #pantryraid challenge on Instagram.