Groceries and Food Waste

Do you see all the beautiful fresh produce in the grocery store, and the grassfed pastured meat from your local ranch, but feel like you need to choose the cheaper, less healthy alternative in order to be able to stay within your family budget?

Or maybe you want to go paleo or grain-free, but think that you really NEED the inexpensive grains to fill out your calorie needs and still stay on budget

Maybe we are looking at the cost of food incorrectly. 

Research shows that the average family of 4 in the US  spends $900 monthly on groceries (source) and a whopping $225 each month going out to eat (source)!  Of the groceries purchased, on average 25% goes to waste (source) because it goes bad before it can be eaten, totaling $225/month.

Two hundred and twenty five dollars a month!  Every two months you could purchase 1/8th beef with those savings, and have over 45 lbs of grassfed beef steaks, roasts, stew, and ground meat.

Reducing our food waste – for our wallets, and for our planet

While we may take a deep breath at the register every time we pay for our weekly groceries, in reality food is cheaper now, relative to income, than it has been in the past. And we have gotten careless.  A handful of produce, a package of meat, and the leftovers that are scraped into the trash rather than saved for lunch the next day- we all have become

And as a result, there are many ‘science experiments’ to be tossed when we clean our our refrigerators.

This waste doesn’t just cost money it also uses resources:

  • Water and labor used to grow the food.
  • Fuel and other resources to truck the food to the processing facility, and then again to the grocery store.
  • Electricity and storage space used to store the groceries, both in a warehouse and in the grocery store.
  • Time, energy, and fuel used by you to go to the grocery store, choose the groceries, and bring them home.

How did we get here?

We lead busy lives with the phone dinging, children that need to be shuttled to school and activities (where a few decades ago they would have walked or taken their bike), and so many great activities offered for every age- it’s no wonder that with all that going on, we forget the bag of green peppers in the vegetable drawer, or the package of chicken that we got on sale last Sunday.

Our children are getting pickier, and have more food allergies.  When you’re cooking differently for each member of the family, or children are often refusing food that you do cook, it will result in more food waste.

We don’t mean to- Really, none of you intend to waste resources or money, but it’s happening. Awareness and some simple changes can fit less food waste, and more money savings, into the modern family.

Freezer Cooking to Enjoy Family Time more

What Can we Do?

I suggest you spend less time in your kitchen instead of more.

That’s right- many people are surprised that I don’t actually LOVE cooking 3 meals a day, every day. Though I talk about food here often, I actually really love getting outside and pursuing activities outside of the kitchen.  Yes, we enjoy good food, and we absolutely enjoy the good health that comes with eating well, and I absolutely enjoy cooking. Just not every day, 3 times a day.

I want to get out, and freezer cooking helps us do that. 

Freezer cooking just means that you are making more food than you will immediately eat, and then you tuck the extras that are already pre-made and even partially cooked into the freezer for a super fast (and delicious!) meal later.  You can do what works for your lifestyle- if you have 4 hours once a week to prepare food, you may be able to prepare most of the dinners and lunches for that week during that time. If you only have 4 hours once a month to freezer cook, you can just make a few meals to use as needed during hectic days, family emergencies, or when the main cook is feeling burnout.

Freezer cooking can greatly reduce the amount of food waste because you divide up the recipes into portions that your family will eat- whether that’s a small portion for a small family that doesn’t like leftovers, or a bigger portion to accommodate lunches the next day.  You do what works for YOU at this particular week.  And you can quickly cook up all that produce so that it stores well, rather than going bad in the bottom of your fridge!

When we cook our groceries with intention in one big cooking day, we have the convenience of restaurant food, the cost savings of nothing being wasted, and the health benefits and superior taste of home-cooked meals made with ingredients that we trust.

afternoon-freezer-cooking-benefits