The worst thing we can do in terms of budgeting is to let what we buy go to waste. Throwing out food without using it in its entirety, no matter how cheap or expensive, is always costly. There is no valid reason as to why we should throw the last few tablespoons of peanut butter, or let that last piece of chicken go uncooked past it’s expiration date. Each year the average American throws out 253 pounds of food. So combined, we are tossing away an of averages of 1.3 billion pounds of possible dinners into our trash cans a year. That ends up being a lot of money and a lot of food that could have been eaten.
So, why don’t we cut down that number. First things first, only buy what you can eat. If you don’t drink a gallon of milk a week, buy a smaller jug. This goes for any item that may expire in a short period of time.
Many times we buy jarred foods like peanut butter, mayonnaise, jams/jellies, mustard, and even fruits. Everyone of us has thrown away the last bit at some point, but these items cost money and you’re going to have to buy a new jar. So, before you do, use up that last morsel. If you are worried about making room in the fridge or cabinet, put the remains of the product in a small tupperware container.
Bread is also often wasted when it doesn’t have to be. Bread is not like dairy products. You can use it after the date on the bag, especially with big brand companies. Many times these loafs are double wrapped, keeping them fresh longer. If you’re still skeptical on using it after the date printed, freeze it to stop it from going stale until it’s needed or make croutons! Cut up the bread, toast them in the oven or toss them in a pan with some olive oil and seasonings. Once they are crisp, store them in a bag and use them for a salad.
Many times we may forget to cook meats before the expiration date is up. Whether it’s beef, chicken or pork, the expiration date is always important to pay attention to. Before it goes bad, make sure you cook it! Even if it’s not that night’s dinner, you can prepare it and store it as a quick dinner for later in the week. Like the bread, freezing meat is a good option. Divide the package into dinner portions and freeze them separately in freezer bags. This way, when it’s time thaw the meal, you are only taking out what you need.
Look out for some great recipes and snacks coming up soon!
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