Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Tips for Meal Planning

Globally, 40 percent of all food created is wasted. This amount is huge and can greatly affect households. One easy way to limit food waste in your own home is meal planning. Meal planning allows a household to choose their meals for a week, shop for those meals and greatly reduce the amount of food they toss each week.

Food planning is easy and fun, so why not start it with your own household? Here are a few helpful tips to get your started.

1) Pick a specific day and time each week to plan your meals: Meal planning works better if it becomes a habit. Find a time that everyone has free to sit down and plan. If everyone is always free 3 p.m. on Sunday that would be a perfect time. Once you make meal planning a part of your routine it becomes second nature.

2) Include everyone who will be eating: This may sound daunting for parents with young children, but including everyone in the meal planning process can be beneficial in several ways. Picky eaters may see it as their choice to have a food they may not have previously liked, and they get to help pick other meals that they know they love. This allows everyone to have a say in the meals and learn about meal planning themselves.

3) Make an ingredient list for every dish: This may sound basic, but finding a couple meals with the same key ingredients can save a lot of wasted groceries. It’s common sense that if you have 2 recipes that call for half an onion you will use the whole onion that week, but it also makes a huge impact on eliminating food waste.

4) Pre-make meals if possible: Let’s face it, there are some nights when ordering a pizza sounds a lot better than making a home cooked meal. That is where pre-made meals come in. There are lots of recipes for meals that you stick in a casserole dish or freezer bag and then just dump and bake. These recipes can be a lifesaver after a hectic day at work. If you plan at least one of these pre-made meals a week you can adjust your schedule for whichever day you need it.

5) Be adventurous: Meal planning offers a great opportunity to try new recipes without having to make last minute after work shopping trips. Embrace the ease of this and try a new recipe! 

Last but not least, remember don't throw those left over food scraps in the garbage to get landfilled- compost them!

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