11/24/2017 12:20 EST | Updated 11/24/2017 12:27 EST

7 Meal Prep Tips To Reduce Food Waste And Save Money

No one likes scraping out last week’s soggy produce to make room for more groceries.

Lindsay Pleskot
We could all use a little extra cash this time of year. And no one likes scraping out last week’s soggy produce to make room for more groceries. So this week on the blog, I’m helping you out with my seven meal prep tricks to cut down that grocery bill and reduce food waste.

Hope you guys are having an awesome week! You guys have been asking for more meal prep tips and recipes to save time, feel more organized in the kitchen and lose (and maintain!) weight in a healthy way.

There's just no way around it — we lead busy lives. Whether you're chasing kids around, work long hours or just find yourself flying through the days with everything life has going on, being consistent with your eating habits can feel impossible. Getting into the routine of doing some weekly meal planning and meal prep is a game changer! But there are definitely some tricks to doing it well.

One of the specifics you guys have asked about is reducing food waste and saving money on that grocery bill! So today I'm tackling that with7 Meal Prep Tips to Save Money and Stop Wasting Food!

1. Plan ahead

This is hands down the best way to save money and prevent waste. Make it a habit to schedule in 30 minutes to an hour once per week to plan out your meals (if you want it all done for you, I've got you covered in my four-week meal plan).

  • Check to see what you already have on hand. Buying doubles of staples like spices, oils, grains and canned goods adds up quick!
  • Plan around a few key ingredients (see tip three from this past post). Use the same ingredients in different ways in multiple meals throughout the week to streamline your grocery list and make sure you use everything up!
  • Account for leftovers in your meal planning. This will save money not having to buy lunch out and ensure that your leftovers get used up so nothing goes to waste!

2. Buy veggies at different stages of ripeness

I am really not a fan of over-ripe fruit. Spotted bananas, browning avocadoes, mushy fruit... not the most appealing. So to prevent having to toss expired produce, buy at different stages of ripeness! Grab a couple of bananas that are ready to eat in the next couple of days and a few that are still a bit green for later in the week. Buy one soft avocado and another that's still firm and brighter green. Catch my drift?

4 Steps to Meal Prep Like a Pro

3. Meal prep

Another game changer for reducing waste is to do some weekly meal prep. This doesn't have to fill up your entire Sunday! Just prep a few staples so that they're ready to throw into quick meals for the week and won't go bad in the fridge. Use The 3-2-1 method for simple, streamlined prep (wash and cut up three different veggies, prep two different proteins and cook up one carbohydrate like rice or quinoa).This will make it a lot more likely that you'll use up what's in the fridge and save you from those desperate drive-through runs on busy nights.

4. Wrap your veggies

This little trick works wonders! You know how the cut edges of peppers or mushrooms can get sort of slimy? Wrap your prepped veggies in paper towel or reusable cloths to soak up any extra moisture. This also works great for bins of greens that otherwise seem to spoil so quickly! Place a piece of paper towel around the edges of the bin and you'll find they keep much longer.

5. Don't toss these commonly wasted foods!

  • Stale bread: Make your own bread crumbs or toast them up with some garlic and olive oil for a deluxe topping for pastas or casseroles
  • Veggie tops (carrot tops, beet greens etc.): make a pesto or toss them right into recipes for some extra flavour.
  • Fruits and veggies: if you find they're getting soft or on their way out, make smoothie pops! Throw them into the blender for a big smoothie and freeze in popsicle molds for a healthy breakfast or snack.
  • Herbs: I used to always find myself tossing half the container of herbs I'd bought. Chop up any extra herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays with a bit of olive oil or butter. These will make perfect flavour starters for future dishes!

Key Lime Kefir Smoothie Pops

6. Make friends with your freezer

Set a reminder for midweek to check your fridge inventory and either use up leftovers or pop them in the freezer. This includes rice, beans, cooked meat, sliced veggies... you name it! You'll be happy to have these already prepped ingredients ready for busy weeks.

One Pan Lemon Turmeric Rice with Chicken and Kale

7. Make kitchen-sink meals

Use up any leftover ingredients at the end of the week by making a big pot of soup, a stir fry, or a one-pan dish. Pick a carbohydrate, one-to-three veggies and a protein. Add in a stock, spices or a sauce and voila! You've got a quick and easy meal and a fridge free of wasted food!

I hope these meal prep tips help you cut down on waste and save a few bucks while you're at it! What are your best meal prep and tips to reduce waste and save money? I'd love to hear! Share with me in the comments below or follow me on Instagram for daily kitchen hangs!

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