Every Day

Zero Waste Meal Planning

This is something that I have gotten very passionate about. I try to never waste one morsel of food. Can I do it all of the time? Sometimes, something gets away from me but not recently.  

Every night after dinner, I decide what we will eat the next day. It all comes from my stockpile of food that we have in the house. That is how I plan. I pull our menu from ingredients on hand. I rarely plan a menu and then go and buy those ingredients. The way I do it let’s us eat at rock bottom prices because I buy meat and other ingredients in bulk when they are at their lowest prices. Now that I have my Butterball turkey for Thanksgiving, my concentration will be on Shady Brook & Top’s turkeys this month because I will never get meat cheaper than $.48 a lb.

I start my meal planning by looking at what food we have in the fridge because that is the most perishable food. Produce can get overripe if you don’t keep track of it. I want to make sure that our produce $’s are not being wasted. For dinner, West requested grilled chicken that he could dip in honey mustard sauce. That is a staple that I keep for him in our fridge. He also wanted French Fries which will come from our freezer stash. I will make a salad using a leftover half a bag of lettuce, cucumbers, an orange pepper, some onion, and homemade teriyaki dressing that Hubby made for our teriyaki chicken salads last night. I will put some grapes that have the stems removed and have been washed in a bowl for anyone who would like fruit.  

Milk can go bad especially since we are not big milk drinkers. Now that Hubby is on my diet, I won’t be buying as much milk because he no longer eats cereal. However, when I see that milk is getting old, we make SF puddings to use it up. I have also thought about freezing it in smaller portions and just pulling out a little when we need it for something. 

For breakfast, I pulled leftover apple cinnamon waffles(first picture) that Hubby made from the freezer. I made scrambled eggs, some bacon(pulled from the freezer), and sausage. West, who is the only one who ate waffles(he demolished most of them), used pure maple syrup from our fridge on them. 

While I was pulling those things, I spotted the open jar of sauerkraut. I love eating a little of this just plain with my lunch.

I was thawing some shaved beef from the freezer and decided that it was not enough for those who might want lunch. So in this picture, you will see that I thawed another baggie of shaved beef to give me enough for West and I. Hubby doesn’t want lunch today. 

After the chicken is thawed for dinner, I will cut it in half lengthwise to make thinner cutlets which lets me portion control easier. After the three of us eat, there will probably be a little leftover to put on a salad in the next couple of days.

Tonight, I will go through this process all over again to make the meals for tomorrow. I always try to incorporate produce and leftovers into our meals first. Then I pull things from the freezer.

A recent article said that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. YIKES!  I can’t even imagine doing that. I would not want to throw my money away like that. Instead of spending the time to shop and throw it away, you might as well just burn it. That is essentially what you are doing.

This method keeps your food bills down and gives you extra money to spend on something else or to save for something you want or need. 

Do you menu plan from your ingredients? 

14 replies on “Zero Waste Meal Planning”

I don't know why, but I always struggle with meal planning. I do cook from my fridge/freezer, and try not to waste anything. Often on Friday mornings I'll make a frittata with any leftovers in the fridge, but I'm definitely guilty of losing produce sometimes

The frittata is a great idea. We have all been guilty of losing produce before. I have taken to freezing things like onions, celery, and lettuce when they are on their way out. My grandkids love smoothies. Thanks for sharing.

I make a loosely-held menu. Most recipes make enough for 4 so that leaves enough for Farmer to have some in his lunch the next day. I'm very guilty at loosing produce. My goal is to get better at using it up. During the farming season, a lot of nights I end up making a quick late supper and don't have time to cook what I've purchased. My goal is to bring it home from the store on Friday and cook it up on Saturday and store to eat all week.

Yes, I menu plan from leftovers in the fridge, but I can def improve. One thing I started recently is a "leftover tray", and put little odds and ends that need used soon on the tray. That way they don't get lost in the fridge, and I know what I need to use soon. I'm much better at freezing leftovers now, they make a great meal when I'm too tired to bother with cooking.

Oh, I prob picked up the leftovers tray idea from you, sorry I didn't realize that! (I read a lot of frugal blogs) but it really helps, thanks for your inspiration!

I rarely ever throw out anything. If i do, it is a lettuce leaf languishing in the package. I look in the refrigerator and find what will work for dinner the next day and take meat from the freezer if i need to do so. I hate wasting food i paid for. I rarely have to purchase food at full price in order to make a meal. Since i buy everything on sale or with coupon, it is like eating cheaply all the time.

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