Simple Ways You Can Trim Your Food Waste While Trimming Your Waistline
One of the TOP reasons I hear from a lot of people for not eating healthy is that they can’t afford it. What many people don’t understand is that it costs MORE to eat pre-packaged, convenience foods than it does to eat whole foods. The problem is that because of our over-scheduled, busy lifestyles, time gets away from us leaving very little time for actual food preparation, leaving a lot of good food to waste away in the produce bins of the refrigerator.
If you have the desire to eat more healthfully, yet you find that you’re throwing food (and money) out in the trash faster than you can cook, I have a few tips for you. This is the perfect time of the year to start anew not only with making changes in your diet, but also in your bank account. Let’s face it: If your bank account is lean, you’re less likely to eat your greens! And the best way to get more “bang for your buck” in your grocery budget is to reduce your food waste.
Before I give you some of my simplest tips for trimming your food waste, let me get a little technical with you by sharing a startling statistic. In the U.S, food waste is estimated at approximately 40% (or more). A lot of that food loss occurs before it gets to your home, but a significant amount does occur once it arrives in your household. One study found that families discard 14% of their food, which translated into 470 lbs. and an annual cost of $600 per year. What could you do with an extra $600?
When you find that life is getting in the way of you taking better care of your nutritional health, take a moment to assess the damage and create a plan for change. Below are several ways that you can create a plan to respect food, money, and your waistline:
- Plan meals ahead for the week. Spend 10-20 minutes on Sunday to determine what you’ll eat for the week ahead. Be sure to assess what’s already in the fridge and pantry so you can use what you already have on hand to create meals. And use the internet to your advantage to find healthy, new recipes so you’re not getting bored with your old-time favorites.
- Shop like a European. Have you ever been overseas and noticed how many outdoor markets there are on major streets? That’s because Europeans visit the market every few days and purchase small quantities of fresh food at a time. This ensures that what they buy will be used and not gone to waste.
- Don’t worry about aesthetics. If you’d like to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, but you’re not sure where to start, smoothies, soups, and casseroles are a great starting place. When fruits are going into smoothies, and veggies are going into soups & casseroles, it’s not necessary that they be cosmetically perfect. Therefore, you can buy off the “quick sale” produce rack for certain items to save money, and eat healthy at the same time!
- Bulk it up, the smart way. Buying everything in bulk can break your bank, for sure. But making sure that you’re buying only the amount you need from bulk BINS makes more sense than storing excessive boxes of pasta, rice, flour, etc. Shop smart and buy only what you need in bulk. This also keeps your portion sizes in check, too!
- Eat smart when eating out. Many restaurants will allow you to order a half-order of certain meals. Not only is this smart for your waistline, it’s a good way to save a few bucks, especially if you’re more likely to take home leftovers and toss them in the trash after having them sit in the fridge for more than 3 days.
Remember, it’s more of a challenge to eat healthy if you’re throwing food dollars in the trash. Use the tips above to begin saving a few food dollars as you incorporate more whole foods into your diet and shrink your waistline by doing so. Your body, and your bank account, will thank you for it!
Your assignment: Set aside 15-20 minutes this Sunday to plan your meals ahead for the week. Be sure to take stock of what you already have to create meals from, and use the internet to search for healthy, 30-minute (or less) meals!
Many thanks to all of you who participated in last month’s survey. Your feedback has been invaluable. Hands down, most people are more interested in making a Compassionate Transformation with a life detox, and the second class of 2012 for this program begins in 2 short weeks! Learn more about this amazing program that will surely transform your life, in more ways than one!