Thursday, February 19, 2015

The $300 - food waste

A huge part of eating on a budget is not wasting food.

For so long it was a part of our culture.  Don't waste food - there are starving kids somewhere.  My grandparents grew up during the Depression and they did NOT waste food.  It was hoarded, preserved and enjoyed.  When you come from having nothing you learn to appreciate the abundance of our lives today.  During WWI this was encouraged by the government

Today I sometimes feel like the government encourages waste under the guise of protecting people.  That's a rant for another day.

Just going to worry about my own waste and what to do to avoid it.  I don't see myself as a wasteful person, but I have to admit that there have been things that spoiled because I simply didn't get to them.  Things I thought I wanted to eat that week, but just didn't feel like cooking until they were too far gone. Things that were on sale and the deal was "too good to pass up".  Yeah, it never is, especially when you buy too many to use up.  Things I forgot about.  Way too much food went bad and was wasted in our house.  I might as well have just ripped up the $$ I spent on it.

Meal planning helps, but I am never going to be my oldest and plan everything out way in advance.  I just plan on things I want to cook that week and go with what feels right that day - or what really needs to be cooked quickly. I'm doing a better job of checking things and seeing that I need to use that pepper or this cucumber before they are not so appetizing.

Buying less is an obvious way to cut back on wasted food.  Portioning it out into smaller sized and freezing them so I don't have to use it all at once.  

Serving smaller portions.  I've downsized the size of our plates and even then sometimes we end up with too much food on them.    I can't really believe we used to use those big plates and fill them up.  My body and more importantly, my  mind, are becoming satisfied with smaller portions.  

I save our leftovers and USE THEM.  That was another area I fell down in before. I would save the leftovers with the best of intentions and then toss them a few weeks later when I realized they were still there and uneaten.

Wasted food is a huge problem and it shouldn't be in a country where so many people go hungry.  How does that happen here?  We have so much but there are people among us who don't have enough to survive.  Kids who eat one meal a day.  I think it may be a combination of social program failures as well as personal failures and bad choices.  I'm not saying it's easy, but the maximum amount given in food stamps for a family of 3 in Missouri is $408 and I wanted to see if it was possible.  My own kid lived on $85 last month, so it's possible for one person who is willing to plan and cook.  I realize that people working two jobs might not feel like they have time to cook, but they are also not getting the food stamps in that amount.  And I do work.  I run two businesses and a charity organization.  I don't work quite full time this time of year, but in the spring and summer I work close to 70 hours a week.  It will be interesting to see if I can keep this going then.  You simply can NOT live on less by eating out all the time.  Even on the $1 menu.

Besides, it's good for the environment.

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