Reduce Food Waste by Planning Ahead

It’s practically impossible to maintain a healthful diet without planning. Before I started The Fresh 20, I wasted pounds and pounds of farmer’s market bounty because I didn’t plan to eat; I only planned to stock the fridge.

If standing in front of the fridge with a blank stare on your face sounds faintly familiar, you are not alone. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep on track, cook fresh food and eliminate produce waste.

1. Create a plan

Half the battle of using fresh ingredients is knowing what’s on the menu. For me, the biggest pitfall is ambiguity. I’m much more likely to stray to take out food if there is nothing on the calendar. A simple weekly, meal plan worksheet is often the only motivation needed to stay on track.

2. Limit ingredients

Instead of having a vegetable drawer full of too many vegetables, decide on a few that you will prepare several different ways. Keeping it simple on the shopping list encourages a more efficient use of produce and in most cases eliminates waste. Add Monday’s roasted broccoli to Wednesdays stir fry or roast carrots once to use in two meals.

3. Sunday prep

A half-hour on Sunday to prepare basic ingredients for the week can save time on busy days. Roast meat, cook brown rice, chop vegetables.

Published on: July 08, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Melissa Lanz

Melissa is the founder of The Fresh 20 an award winning meal planning service, the creator of the Family Food Summit, an online conversation with food industry leaders, about feeding our families and the author of The Fresh 20 Cookbook.

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Greatest truth: Before I started The Fresh 20, I wasted pounds and pounds of farmer’s market bounty because I didn’t plan to eat; I only planned to stock the fridge.

How many other shoppers buy without knowing how to fit all the pieces together?