Saving food starts with your mindset. It’s stopping for a moment in the grocery store, considering whether that tomato will actually get used this week. It’s crafting dishes to use ingredients on hand.
It’s not being afraid to substitute pasta sauce or salsa for tomato paste. And it’s eating breakfast for dinner, or dinner for breakfast — depending on what needs to be eaten soonest. It’s a skill, as well as a passion. As it strengthens, you’ll find yourself naturally resisting the urge to go out for a quick meal, because there’s plenty of good food in the fridge just waiting to be cooked.
Of course, there are some broad steps you can take to cut back on food waste, too. Plan meals in advance. Use restraint (and a shopping list) at the store. Store food properly for safe and handy use. Develop use-it-all-up menus. And make the very most of your freezer. These are all helpful, but for it to work — really work — there has to be commitment. You make food decisions all day, and no one knows your personal needs and preferences like you do. Imagine making all of those choices with a little anti-food-waste angel perched on your shoulder — maybe it’s a grandparent who wouldn’t dare throw away perfectly good leftovers — and you’ll notice it’s easier to waste less, naturally.
The good news is this mentality can unleash a burst of creativity you never realized you had — discovering new dishes and cooking techniques, right in your own kitchen. It takes so little time, and no new tools or gadgets. Don’t worry about being perfect either — every bit saved counts. So, get out there and become the change you desire! Be the colleague who gathers up the food after an office lunch and moves it to the common area. Be the parent who cuts up the veggies your kid didn’t touch and throws them into a stir fry.
Do what works for you — in your life, with your food. Every day.