Three Ways For Singles to Stop Throwing Away Money With Food

So, there you are in your kitchen, the clock says 6:47 PM. You need to eat so you look in the refrigerator to survey the contents. After a few minutes of purging lots of spoiled and questionable food, the prospects look slim for fresh dinner.

Cooking for one person has its own unique situations, especially if you are single. One of the most frustrating situations singles face in cooking for themselves is food spoilage. Many foods go bad faster than the single person can consume it.

Discover 3 tips to reduce the amount of food dollars you are simply chucking into the garbage can.

Buy quality over quantity:

With marketing popularizing ‘bigger is better’, singles often get caught up in the buying frenzy as well. Singles falsely rationalize such a large purchase as being a good deal, but for whom? Remember you are filling one stomach, not four. Even if it has a long shelf-life, where will it take up residence in your home?

Make the bulk section of your grocery store your new hang-out. You can purchase as little as you need. Flours, oatmeal, sugar, nuts, dried fruit all can be had in personalized amounts. Bag it, weigh it, done.

The same goes for the deli. Ignore everyone else buying by the pound, and order by the slice. One time I had a hankering for a grilled cheese sandwich, so I just ordered 3 slices of creamy, high-quality American cheese. My cost was 37 cents!

Buy the best dairy products you can afford in smaller quantities if you use dairy. Try a local farmer’s market and buy directly from the dairy farmer. Drinking or using fresh farm milk is unforgettably delicious. Forget the sale on half gallon ice cream and purchase the small pint-sized containers in a mouthwatering flavor. If you bought a half-gallon of ice cream for yourself, in whose body will it all end up?

Pass over the large bags of fruits (apples, pears, oranges) and vegetables (potatoes, yams, onions). I have found produce sold in bags not as good as loose produce. Unless you will be eating a lot of these, they will become soft or brown before you know it. Instead, select individual pieces therefore providing you freedom to choose quantity, size, ripeness, and better variety.

Dry food stays dry, cold food stays cold:

Proper food storage preserves and extends the life of food. It also makes it safe to eat. Air, moisture, heat, and excessive light are culprits which assist in food going bad. Since foods in a single person’s kitchen may not be consumed as quickly as in a family’s kitchen, it is important to remember basics of practical food storage.

Keep dry boxed goods from going stale by clamping bags closed with small metal clips. Close flaps of cardboard boxes. Although this all may sound like common sense, it is not always practiced. Excessive levels of light also help degrade food, such as olive oils which are often sold in dark colored bottles.

Meats, poultry, and seafood must stay cold until ready to eat or cook. Because these food items are naturally moist, the added warmth makes them a microbial breeding ground. If the meat is frozen, thaw it covered in the refrigerator. When you need to quickly thaw frozen meats, defrost them at the setting appropriate in your microwave.

Buying basic ingredients = more meals = money saved:

When you are cooking for only one person most individuals rely too heavily on processed, convenience foods. There will always be those not-enough-time moments when you need a quick meal. When you go grocery shopping, try loading your grocery cart with basic, whole foods.

Foods that are less processed tend to have greater ability to be used in multiple ways. These foods overlap meals by serving as ingredients in several meals. For example, take food items based on apples. You could buy a few apples, a jar of applesauce, or a frozen baked apple. An apple pie would be mouth wateringly delicious, but that is all it will ever be – a pie. Applesauce can be eaten as a side dish, a dessert, or even used as a fat substitute for low-fat baking. The last choice provides you with the greatest amount of forms in meals, whole apples.

Select from the various types of apples at your local grocer or farm stand, and in each of those apples lies so many possible meals: pork chops with apples, a slice of apple in a ham sandwich, baked apples, apple cobbler, caramel apple, homemade applesauce (ridiculously easy), cinnamon-laced apples on top of pancakes, multiple forms of salads, and of course eaten just as it is on the core.

Using basic, whole foods drastically reduces food waste because of the number of ways to use the food item. In the end, you throw less money into the trashcan. You save money buying whole, natural foods. Generally the more processed the food, the greater the cost per pound. An added benefit of using basic, whole foods will not have the artificial ingredients and contain all the enjoyable goodness nature intended.

Cooking for one person does not mean throwing out lots of wasted food if you consider different strategies. Remembering these three tips will help you waste less food due to spoilage, provide you with greater range of meal options, and save you money. First, focus on quality over quantity. Practice the best food storage methods to get the most out of your food. Lastly, if you purchase whole, natural foods which overlap into many meals, you cut down your spoilage.

Keith Roumfort is owner of ©.

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