When composing and balancing menu, the most important issues are: the goal we want to achieve, food preferences and quality of food products – e.g. how much processed they are. Wasting the “unnecessary” leftovers of valuable food seems to be a serious problem which influences the content of the wallet and mood. What can we do to limit the amount of dumped products and skilfully manage the leftovers from the fridge?
Think over your menu!
Composing menu doesn't only mean that you have to adjust calorific content, the amount of macro nutrients and possible energy surplus/deficit to individual needs, but also the choice of food products is important and adjusting them to culinary preferences. There is a lot of information about the quality of food products, but the practical aspects connected with doing shopping often evades our attention. The most frequent oversights concern:
weight misfit – e.g. we often buy meat in 500g-packaging, and we only include 350g in the menu. It occurs that 150g is totally useless and it stays in the fridge as it is not included in the menu. What can we do in such a situation? There are at least three options: changing the menu and include two meals containing 250g of meat each (or one meal containing 350g and the other with 150g, etc.); find a shop where you can buy meat with necessary weight, or use the freezer and leave the remaining peace e.g. for the next week.
giving in to impulses – it is often connected with rash shopping. We sometimes think we want to eat herring and that's the reason why we go to the shop (e.g. on empty stomach) and we do a weekly supply. After eating the first meal with herring, we find out that it will be impossible for us to even look at this product for the next two months. What can we do in such situation? Most of all, draw conclusions for the future and avoid doing reserves, especially of those products which don't have long expiry date. And you should be careful with such cravings – sometimes just a small dose is enough to satisfy you...
lack of control over the content of the fridge – wasting food isn't always done aforethought. We sometimes forget about the stock lying in the fridge or in the kitchen cabinets because we are busy. Only when we smell something unpleasant, we remember that we used to have some food product. That's why it's worth looking systematically into the food reserves we have and move the products with short expiry date to the front.
Learn how to use the leftovers!
The ability of cooking seems to be very useful, also in the context of avoiding wasting food. Because, just like it's often said, a real cook can prepare anything from nothing. The remains from the fridge can be used to prepare tasty and satisfying meals. The necessary component is some creativity – we may not find a recipe which would contain all the products we currently have. A good idea to give the leftovers “second life” without any complicated culinary effort are: casseroles, soups – including creamy soups, stews, or salads. Another option, also worth considering, is sandwich spread.
Throwing away food is a problem which is often omitted during composing menu. With small amount of attention and good organisation, you can minimize the losses of food and save large amount of money at the same time.