One of the best ways to reduce the amount of waste that comes into your kitchen is by having a meal plan when you are ready to hit the grocery store. Of course, a grocery list makes a big difference, too.
What is a Meal Plan?
A meal plan can mean different things for different families. For some, they like to plan what meal will be eaten on each specific day of the week. Others just plan the meals they are going to make, but decide closer to the day which they will make.
Either way, making a meal plan means knowing what meals, usually focused on dinners, you are going to make until the next time you grocery shop. We try to plan for two weeks at a time. But we always end up running in between for the things that go bad sooner, such as produce and bread.
Why Make a Meal Plan?
When you make a meal plan, you plan out what meals you are going to make. By doing this, you can make sure to use up all of the food you purchase and don’t overbuy.
For example, Monday you may make a meal that uses half of an onion. So, on Tuesday, try to make a meal that will use the other half of that onion. In doing this, you are preventing food from going to waste.
Also, when you know what you are planning to cook, you can make a proper grocery list. Then, take that grocery list and check your kitchen. Do you already have enough pasta in the pantry? By checking you can avoid buying something that you already have.
How Does a Meal Plan Help with No Waste?
As mentioned, making a meal plan can help you on the way to a no waste kitchen in a few ways. You can plan out your menu to make sure that you use up all the food you purchase. By making a grocery list and checking it before you leave, you can also prevent yourself from purchasing unnecessary food.
How to Make A Meal Plan
There are many ways to make a meal plan. And as with everything on this journey, you have to figure out what works best for you and your family. Here is what works for me:
- Start the grocery list with the staples you know you need. For example, we go through a lot of almond milk so that is always on our list.
- Once you have your staples listed, decide a few of the meals you want to make. Write down the ingredients for those meals, and note if you will have any leftovers from that next to it.
- Look through those leftovers you will have, and see if there are meals you can make to use that food. Write down any other ingredients you may need for those meals.
- Take the grocery list to the kitchen and see if you already have any of the items on your list. You don’t want to spend money on food that you have. It’s a waste of money and will waste food if it goes bad before you use it all up.
- If you want to pick a night for each meal, then it’s best to plan the meals that have the freshest foods earlier. This way those foods are used before others that have a longer shelf life.
The next time you need to go grocery shopping, try creating a meal plan along with your grocery list. Find ways that you can either cut down on the amount of over purchasing you do, and make sure you are going to use up fresh foods before they go bad.
Proper meal planning can take a few extra minutes each week, but in the
Also, don’t go through the hassle of creating your own grocery staples list. Sign up to get your free Welcome Kit, which contains a quick and easy grocery staples checklist.