It goes without saying that the COVID-19 crisis has thrown a curveball in all of our daily routines. In a “Shelter-In-Place” environment, we’re forced to take a rare opportunity to reflect and refine our daily habits. What are some ways adapting to this curveball can be a net positive?
While the thought of sheltering in our homes and having limited access to resources feels intimidating (not to mention, downright inconvenient), we’re trying to view this time as a chance to adopt a more creative approach to consumption and step up our upcycling game!
Keep reading for 5 helpful tips on reducing food waste in the midst of the quarantine.
#1) Make A Masterplan
Planning out your meals ahead of time works wonders to reduce food waste by ensuring you only purchase and prepare as much as you can realistically consume each week. Meal planning throughout the Shelter-in-Place order can also help to limit the amount of trips you make to the grocery store, thus reducing your chance of contributing to the viral spread. Ends+Stems is one of our favorite tools for this (code “LOCKDOWN” will get you 30% off).
#2) Think Like A Chef - Use It Up!
Chefs look at cooking as an opportunity to put creativity in action. Instead of adhering to strict recipe rules, use this time as motivation to allow yourself the freedom to have fun in the kitchen and utilize ingredients in unexpected ways. Try loosening the reins on your favorite cookbook for the time being and experiment with creating dishes based on the ingredients you already have on hand.
This is a great way to use up items that previous recipes left behind. Whether it is a half empty can of coconut milk, wilting herbs, or a few slices of citrus, or a whole rotisserie chicken, you may be surprised what you’re able to whip up!
This attitude is especially helpful when grocery shopping with unpredictable inventories at the store. Start with what’s available, and create your meal from there!
#3) Organize, Organize, Organize!
Most of us have found ourselves with a lot more downtime than we’re used to. Why not use the extra time to give your fridge, freezer, and pantry the overhaul they’re probably desperately in need of? Not only will your space look and feel cleaner but more importantly you’ll have a decidedly clearer picture of the inventory you have on hand. Pay attention to best-by dates while organizing to make this process doubly efficient, and be sure to push the most perishable items toward the front of your fridge (or in a dedicated drawer) as a reminder to consume them first.
#4) Freeze Strategically
If there’s one piece of advice to take to heart when it comes to preventing food waste in times of quarantine, let it be this: The freezer is your friend. With proper planning, one trip to the grocery store can leave you stocked and prepared for weeks to come. By batch cooking and freezing excess meals for coming weeks you can reduce the amount of grocery restock trips required throughout the lockdown. And as an added bonus you’ll have a freezer full of ready-made meals at your convenience! They will be better tasting, better for you, and have less packaging waste than store-bought frozen meals.
#5) Order In
If you’d prefer to avoid visiting stores at all, opt to have groceries delivered straight to your door through a company like Imperfect Foods. The national delivery service is dedicated to reducing food waste by dispersing cosmetically challenged, discontinued, or soon to be expired food items.
Imperfect is a personal favorite among our staff thanks to their wide variety of offerings– everything from fresh produce to pantry staples including ReGrained bars can be delivered to your home with the click of a button.
To support your local economy, also keep an eye out for nearby restaurants that may be offering free delivery and CSA farm boxes in lieu of traditional dining services.
Bottom Line: These unprecedented times we find ourselves in can be the catalyst that motivates us to set a new precedent for our patterns of consumption that can carry forward beyond this crisis. There is no better time for us all to come together and practice resourcefulness. And what better place to start than in the kitchen?
So remember—Stay calm, Hunker down, and Eat Up!