Let us start 2012 year right by adopting little changes that are easy to do.
I do not have to tell you how prices of things, particularly food, just keep going up and up. We are lucky if we are still able to buy enough food, but many Filipinos have to do without a lot of things. We can help ourselves and other people by being less wasteful.
Kimberly Palmer, writing for the US News & World Report, says small changes can add up to significant savings and less wasteful consumption. She gets suggestions from Jonathan Bloom’s book, “American Wasteland.”
An easily doable suggestion is organizing the refrigerator. Bloom suggests having a “use it up” shelf for items that will soon go bad, so you remember to eat them. After all, if you cannot see something, you may forget to eat it. Bloom, Palmer says, also suggests putting new groceries in the back and bringing older items to the front.
Filipinos can continue their habit of going to the wet market or talipapa almost daily instead of buying in bulk. Bloom points out that bulk shopping increases the chances of spoilage. Palmer says Bloom thinks “shopping more frequently gives you flexibility to make use of unexpected leftovers.”
Bloom also suggests learning recipes that will use some of the leftovers. French toast uses slightly stale bread. Bread pudding and crumbs can also be turned into something new. Banana bread, chicken pot pies, chicken salad, fried rice, and soups can be made out of leftovers and vegetables approaching expiration dates. Leftover chicken bones and vegetable scrap can be turned into stock as a base for soups.
And, as I have said before, use expiration or best before dates as guides. Bloom recommends relying more on your own senses to determine whether food is still edible.
Unless you are sure you will eat the bread, fries or other appetizers put on your table when you eat out, Bloom suggests that you decline the freebies.
“Once the bread basket hits your table, it can no longer be served to others,” he says. And, of course, do not be embarrassed to have a doggie bag. “Don’t let the leftovers go to waste,” Bloom says. He even suggests bringing your own container so you can also be more environmentally friendly.
At home, Palmer says Bloom suggests using smaller plates so you take smaller servings. You can get refills when necessary. With smaller plates, you and the kids are less likely to take more than you will eat. Bloom suggests eating at home as much as possible. He says people are less likely to waste food that they or a loved one made.
Bloom also suggests leaving fruits and vegetables for last when shopping. This will protect the produce from getting buried and bruised by heavier items, which will hasten spoilage. Make sure you do not shop on an empty stomach, as this can lead to impulse buys and unnecessary stocking up, which can lead to overspending (and waste).
Save and eat leftovers. Use the freezer to preserve them and other items you cannot use right away. Use sealed bags to prevent freezer burn. Write down the date and a description of the item to remind you when to use it. Bloom even suggests including the price as an incentive to avoid waste.
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Happy New Year!
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