The Weekly Waste Word: Prioritizing

At the beginning of most weeks, I give tips on how to avoid wasting food. Today let’s talk about prioritizing what to cook.

the ol' crisper drawerI’ve often nagged that it’s best to plan out the week’s meals or at least a few in a row before grocery shopping to avoid excessive purchasing. What happens if you don’t have time to plan ahead?

In that case, have a look in your fridge, including the meat and crisper drawers. Rank items on how soon they’ll become rank. For example, spinach takes priority over eggplant. Then make your meal with the foods likely to go bad sooner.

Sounds simple enough, right? There’s one catch. You can’t just have what you feel like eating. But hey, like Mick said, you can’t always get what you want

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  1. Posted December 3, 2007 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    We’re working to do a better job of reusing foods and leftovers, even if it means eating “the same thing” a couple nights and lunches in a row. But I’d rather put myself out slightly than continue to throw away as much food as we’ve historically been wont to do.

  2. Jonathan
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear that, Kensho. I often eat the previous night’s dinner for lunch. It’s not so bad, right?

  3. Posted December 5, 2007 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    It’s so important to highlight these kinds of common sense meal planning ideas. Everyday I’m assessing whether or not something can wait another day, or if it really needs to be cooked that day. Most often, I’m really good about it, but sometimes, a hankering gets the better of me. Something else I find important is to keep everything in clear bags or containers. Usually the veggies or leftovers that go furry in the fridge are the ones in opaque packaging that I forget about. I almost never have to throw out food in clear containers. Little “food for thought”. :)

  4. Jonathan
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    That’s sound advice, Bri. So true about being able to *see* what’s in those containers or bags. We have these plastic containers at home with colored tops–not a great idea because they’re not see through. Just the other day my wife starting doing something ingenious: putting them in the fridge upside down so you can see their contents.

    As for satisfying those hankerings every now and then, I’d say that’s part of life. A fun part.

  5. Posted December 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    One of the members at my CSA calls this process “triage”. For instance, we’re starting to get a lot of root vegetables with greens. The roots keep well; the greens do not. So, when she gets home, she cuts the greens off all the roots and plans to use those in the first day or two after pick-up. The roots will keep to be used throughout the week.

  6. Jonathan
    Posted December 10, 2007 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    That’s a smart idea, Chile. I think we could all stand to do some more veggie triage.

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