11 Ways You’re Wasting Food and Money (Slideshow)

Contributor
A few tips and tricks to save money and manage waste in the kitchen

11 Ways You’re Wasting Food and Money

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Everyone is looking to save some money, and you can start in your own kitchen. Just a few easy changes to your grocery shopping methods and cooking habits and your wallet will thank you.

You’re Not Making Homemade Stock

flickr/paulswansen

Keep the bones from chicken and save the tops from onions, celery leaves, and carrot scraps that don’t end up in whatever you’re preparing. Store them all in the freezer and make a big batch of stock whenever you save up enough.

You Don’t Utilize the Whole Vegetable

flickr/Denim Dave

Some parts of vegetables aren’t as pretty as others, but that doesn’t make those parts inedible. Use every (edible) part of fruit and vegetable, like pepper tops and bottoms. Kale stems can be turned into pesto, and after removing the kernels, cobs of corn can also be used for stock.

Unorganized Pantry/Fridge

flickr/Lynda Giddens

Visibility is key in the fridge and pantry. The items in the back will go bad if you don’t check on them. Store leftovers in clear containers for better visibility and do a weekly sweep of the fridge and pantry so you know what you already have before you go grocery shopping.

Not Planning Your Meals Ahead

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Go to the grocery store with a plan; people tend to over-shop when they go in without a plan. Plan a week of meals ahead of time so you know what you need at the grocery story, rather than buying what you’re in the mood for at the moment.

Tossing Stale Bread

flickr/surlygirl

Don’t throw out those ends of bread that no one wanted to eat. Store leftover bread in the freezer and dice and toast them for croutons, or toast and pulse into breadcrumbs.

Tossing Bruised/Overripe Fruit

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Store overripe (peeled) bananas, peaches, and berries in the freezer. You can use almost all frozen fruit to make delicious smoothies without ice cubes. Overripe bananas are also excellent in banana bread.

Trusting “Best By” Labels

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“Use by” and “best by” labels are just suggestions for peak quality of food provided by food manufacturers. These are not regulated (except for baby formula and some other items) and should be taken lightly. Common sense comes into play here; sniff, taste, or visually check the food in question before throwing it out.

Poor Portion Control

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If you know your eyes are often bigger than your stomach, serve yourself a little less, you can always go back for seconds. You can also save money by serving four- to six-ounce portions of meat (recommended by the USDA).

Only Using Ice Cube Trays for Water

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Use ice cube trays to freeze leftover liquids like wine, stock and gravy. Wine can be added into any recipe that calls for it. Use the stock cubes to flavor rice and other grains, and use the gravy to flavor soups and stews.

Making Poor Choices at the Grocery Store

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Check the unit price of goods rather than the retail price for easier comparison of products that are packaged in different size containers.


Turn Leftovers into Full Meals

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Add inexpensive pantry items like rice and pasta to your leftovers to turn them into a full meal. You can also cook a quick kitchen-sink stir-fry to use up leftover vegetables or meat.