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January 22, 2013

8 Moves to Save Money on Food

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

A recent report ( estimates that the world wastes half its food, for a variety of reasons, including what consumers toss. Throwing food away is costly.   Here's how to minimize food waste at home, starting at the supermarket. 

Keep it cold.Invest in a refrigerator thermometer to be sure your fridge is operating at 40˚F or lower to avoid food spoilage. 

Plan.Consult the calendar to figure out what you need for healthy meals and snacks during the week.

Shop with a list.Once you've planned meals and snacks, compile a list of healthy ingredients to buy at the grocery story. A list helps you stick to your plan and avoid the in-store temptation that prompts you to purchase extra food.

Buy only what you need.Its OK to stock up on staples, such as vegetable or olive oil, nuts, and mayonnaise, when they're on sale because they're unlikely to go bad before you use them, but beware of sales thatencourage you to purchase more than you'll eat.You may pay a bit more to buy smaller portions of meat or chicken, but nothing goes to waste because you use every bit. 

Make just enough food.If you don't like leftovers, and you're prone to tossing them after a couple of days in the refrigerator, avoid recipes that make more than you and your family can eat in one sitting.

Consider canned.Canned beans and other canned items, such as tuna, salmon, and fruit in its own juice, have a long shelf life, which minimizes spoilage.

Invest in Frozen Assets.Buy frozen, plain fruits and vegetables.   They avoid waste because you take only what you need for that meal or snack and leave the rest for later.  

Use it or lose it.Fresh fruits and vegetables can be pricey. Save ripe whole bananas you're not using right now in the freezer to make smoothies or banana bread. Roast or sauté vegetables to puree and put in soups later or make a vegetable and bean or chicken soup to have now or to freeze for future use. Stir leftover mashed or sweet potato into a beef stew to boost nutrition and add a creamier texture.

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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