As a graduate student and dietetic intern who also balances a part time job, I might be lucky to make it to the grocery store once a week (and the laundromat once every three weeks), which means that I have had to learn very carefully how to best use my groceries and shop smart. Additionally, I’m a big supporter of avoiding food waste for optimal sustainability, so it’s important to me not to waste anything if I don’t have to. Here are some of my best tips for other busy folks like me:
- Buy frozen protein and vegetables when you can
This has been one of my major go-tos since I was an undergraduate student. I sometimes have trouble using up fresh vegetables when I’m cooking just for myself, so it’s easier to buy a few bags of frozen ones that I can pull out for recipes over the next couple weeks. I’m also a HUGE fan of easy frozen protein, like pre-cooked grilled chicken or shrimp. I also purchase steamable frozen edamame that makes enough for a couple of meals so I can get good use out of it with minimal prep time.
- Make extra food at dinner for lunch the next day
This might seem like common sense, but this doesn’t always mean just classic leftovers of the same meal! If you open a jar of pesto for pasta, you can put it on a wrap or sandwich the next day. If you make extra brown rice for a stir fry dinner, you can throw it on a salad for the following lunch. Get creative in re-using ingredients in new ways!
- Freeze everything!!
Okay, so you can thank generations of women in my family and their love for freezers for this one – but it really is incredibly useful. I freeze anything I know I might not use before it goes bad – from soup to taco meat to loaves of bread. You can even freeze ingredients like soy milk to make an extra creamy smoothie later!
These are just a few of the small, easy ways I like to contribute to a more sustainable world with less food waste (while also wasting less of my grocery money!) What are some of your favorite grocery saving tips?