I spend more money and have more food waste when I shop for groceries on a weekly basis. A few months ago I started grocery shopping daily or almost daily. I’ve tried different shopping and cooking strategies including bulk freezer cooking, Blue Apron, weekly shopping, and none of it fit my food personality. Standard advice is to shop less frequently and generally that's great, but maybe not the best advice for grocery shopping when you are household of one or two people.
The turning point was a few months ago while cleaning out my fridge and filling a paper grocery bag with expired and spoiled food. Before tossing in the trash I decided to calculate the cost of the wasted food. I was ashamed that the food I was throwing out had a value of over $50. The best shopping strategy that saves me the most money and eliminates food waste is almost daily grocery shopping.
By shopping daily I’m not only saving money and reducing food waste, I'm also cooking with the freshest ingredients possible.
I'm not the type of person who knows what I want for dinner on Friday on the previous Monday! Several months ago I got the bright idea to try using Blue Apron, easy, right? I received a three-meal kit and wasting two of the meals, I just wasn’t in the mood for what I ordered from Blue Apron. To be fair, the food was fresh and of adequate quality, but I’m too gastronomically spontaneous to order my meals so far in advance.
I shop weekly for basics like condiments, crackers, you know, the non-perishable stuff. For dinners, I shop the same day, stopping on the way home for a ten-minute grocery detour. It's even faster if I use a free service like Clicklist offered at my local Ralph's.
The exception is on Fridays I usually buy enough for a couple of dinners and weekend breakfasts just in case I decide to hole up in the house for the weekend.
Daily Tips To Reduce Food Waste
• Shop your fridge and pantry first to avoid buying food you already have on hand.
• Only buy what you need for the meal.
• Avoid marketing gimmicks that encourage you to buy more than needed. Purchase ten perishable items and five spoil in the fridge, that’s money wasted and more packaging trash for the landfill.
• Buy fresh ingredients in smaller quantities; you will create less waste Shop for individual pieces of fruit and vegetables over pre-cut and buy only the amount you need for the one meal.
• Check the "sell, use, and best" before dates on products before purchasing, look for extended freshness dates.
• Always rotate food, put food expiring first in the front of the refrigerator.
• Use dinner leftovers for the next day's brown bag lunch.
• Shop Farmers Markets
The daily ritual of shopping for the perfect ripe heirloom tomato, or the best cut of meat is relaxing. Shopping in grocery stores that display the fruits and vegetables beautifully is a feast for the eyes.
To shrink your food budget and the amount of trash generated, consider daily or almost daily grocery shopping ideas.