wasting foodPlanning and cooking healthy meals that your family loves without wasting food can be a challenge.  Having a hectic schedule makes it even more challenging, even if you’re single. The tendency to order a pizza delivered, or drive through a fast-food restaurant can become commonplace.

This tendency allows for sustenance in a pinch but long-term can cause health issues because you’re not eating healthy. The biggest health issue is weight gain which can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.  It’s really ok to order in on occasion, but don’t make it a habit.

Planning, and even cooking meals in advance is a great time saver to quickly prepare dinners during a busy work week.  When I say ‘meals’, this could mean the main entrée. Then you add the side dishes, which are typically quick to prepare with the main entrée. Freeze meals in plastic freezer containers, with a label that shows the contents and date it went into the freezer using masking tape and a marker.

As you plan your meals, most recipes call for fresh ingredients such as vegetables, herbs and others that don’t last long in the fridge.  You want to use them before they go bad so you’re not wasting food and consequently the money you paid for it. This is where your freezer comes to your aid again.  You may be surprised to learn about the various foods that can be frozen in this article by Taste of Home.

Another related idea is to double up on ingredients for a dish that you’re preparing for dinner. Cut it in half and freeze that half using the steps above. If you have leftovers from the half for dinner tonight and your family are not big ‘leftover eaters’, freeze them so you’re not wasting food. It may be a proportion that could be taken to work for lunch in the future.

Being single and cooking for one, I typically end up with a lot of leftovers. I like leftovers but will get sick of eating the same thing every day until it’s gone.  As mentioned above, when I prepare and eat a meal, the remainder gets cut in half and I freeze half of it using the steps above so I’m not wasting food.

Your freezer is key to this concept of not wasting food as mentioned throughout this article. But be aware that frozen food can lose its flavor or become freezer burnt if not used within a reasonable amount of time.  That’s where the labels with the dates and contents comes in handy, so check your stash of prepared meals regularly.