Money & Career

How we're reducing food waste this summer

Meal planning has become something we do regularly - and we try our best to stick to it. By planning our meals for an entire week and doing one big shop to cover them, we’ve managed to drastically reduce our grocery bills and the amount of food we throw out. But now that summer's here, we are changing up our meal planning approach.

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It’s always during the hottest Toronto summer days that I’m the most aware of the food we throw out every day. From our own stinking green waste bin to the reek of putrefied garbage emanating from restaurant bins, it’s all too obvious that a lot of our food ends up in the trash — in fact, about a third of all the food produced for human consumption (1.3 billion tons a year) gets lost or wasted according to a recent FAO-commissioned study, Global Food Losses and Food Waste.

For my family, one of our single biggest budget items is food – and we work as hard as we can to make sure we buy only what we need. Meal planning has become something we do regularly – and we try our best to stick to it. By planning our meals for an entire week and doing one big shop to cover them, we’ve managed to drastically reduce our grocery bills and the amount of food we throw out.

But now that summer is here, we’re finding that our weekly approach to meal planning and shopping is wearing a little thin – especially when the stores are full of fresh seasonal produce that doesn’t really last a full week. That old bag of apples we picked up at the supermarket gets ignored when there is a lovely basket of fresh picked strawberries on hand. So we’re changing up our meal planning approach — instead of a big weekly shop and seven-day planning, we’re opting for a smaller shop every two to three days. We get to eat fresher fruits and vegetables and we’re wasting a lot less food once again.

Going to the supermarket more frequently requires a lot of discipline however – instead of encountering temptation once a week, we’re being forced to resist impulse buys every two to three days. So far we’re winning in the resistance game. You also have to be careful to wash and properly store your produce when you get home – it makes it easier to reach for it and use it at the end of a long day and it also keeps it fresh for longer. 

Combating food waste is a number one priority for us as we reduce our spending and our impact on the environment. 

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