We're all guilty of the occasional grocery blunder. (My spinach just went slimy!) But Canadians waste more than $27 billion worth of food annually. That's more than an occasional folly — that's a habit. And like any bad habit, the key to breaking it is a good plan.
While $27 billion is a staggering figure, there is a silver lining. Half of that amount is household food waste. (By contrast, food miles — the distance what you eat travels from farm to plate — and food packaging together account for only 21 per cent, or $5.6 billion, of total Canadian food waste.)
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This means that individual action — yours and mine — has the power to make a measurable and meaningful difference. Just cutting our household food waste in half would immediately save billions.
The path to a greener, less wasteful, kitchen lies in good planning. And the champion is a weekly meal plan.
The simplicity is delicious.
Take a few minutes to write out a week's worth of dinners. Start with what's already on hand. Then think about how leftovers can play into lunches, snacks or other meals. You might want to plan a little baking. Or maybe a homemade soup?
Then create a grocery shopping list based on your plan.
I like to scribble my meal plan on the backside of a reused envelope, with lots of little arrows about how today's steamed carrots will turn into tomorrow's carrot soup.
If you're new to this or just prefer streamlined electronic assistance, there are lots of websites and resources — like the whole foods app — that will help you find recipes and even create the shopping list for you!
Buy the food you need. Eat the food you planned. Never again bang your head on the counter for wasting the beautiful bocconcini cheese you bought on a whim and promptly forgot about.
You'll be rewarded with a clean conscience, a healthier planet and a fatter wallet.
Of course, in the quest to curb food waste, there are other effective household actions to be combined with the meal plan — smaller portions, smart food storage, conscientious buying and regular composting, to name a few — but it all starts with a good plan for wasting less!
What anti-food wasting strategies do you use?
Tovah Paglaro, Queen of Green