Earlier this year I figured out a way to shop for groceries every two weeks and to save money in the process. The goal was to have nutritious meals and snacks but to be more strategic about it during a No Spend Month. I’ve held onto much of what I learned because it simply works well for me.
First of all, you quickly learn which produce items last the longest. For example, apples and oranges have a longer shelf life than grapes or berries. So you use the grapes and berries during week one and save the rest for later.
Salads are best enjoyed for the first week while frozen veggies are a nice change for week two. Although, if I’m in the mood for salad, I’ve been known to cheat and stop at the store to grab a few things!
At some point I realized that all my bananas were going into smoothies so I could buy ripe bananas, dice ’em up, and freeze them to be ready when needed.
In fact, many things freeze well. I buy mushrooms for stir fry and flash freeze the extras for later. Lots of foods can be frozen for cooking and other things keep well when properly stored in the fridge far longer than most people think.
I prefer fresh foods but usually keep some plain frozen steak fries and lots of frozen veggies. I rarely buy the cook in the bag kind because they’re more costly and I never need an entire bag of frozen peas at one time. Buy a regular bag of cheap frozen peas and you can cook them as needed.
Plain and simple, you find ways to be less wasteful and to meal plan better. I made the above pictured pasta primavera using a combination of stuff from the fridge and fresh veggies that I had flash frozen last weekend. The sauce was something from a jar that I had leftover from another dish. The pasta was the end of a package I had opened a couple of weeks ago.
This ability to plan, salvage and preserve has come in handy these last few weeks. Very little is getting wasted right now. I even discovered that leaf lettuce can be frozen for smoothies!
Another thing – when I come home from the store I jot down a list of things that need to be used first and hang it on the fridge. Things tend to get shuffled around and forgotten to languish in the back.
Given how much food is wasted in this country, I would hope that people are using this uncertain time to be more careful and thoughtful about food. That’s probably a pipe dream but this seems like the perfect time to embrace the old adage- use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
I’m not advocating that anyone do without but I would like to think we could embrace using and making do.
What about you? Are you being more careful with resources? Have your attitudes about shopping and using what you have changed lately? Let’s talk!