Do you have a problem with not planning your meals ahead of time and all of a sudden you’re asking yourself what’s for dinner? Each week the average family in our country throws away three pounds of edible food in the garbage. Multiply that times the number of our households and it adds up to thousands of tons of food going in the landfill.
What can we do to help reduce the amount of food going into landfill and help answer the question of what’s for dinner? Start by looking at one week at a time and making a list of the meals you plan to eat. Once you have a list of the meals you plan to make use that meal plan to make a shopping list.
Take the shopping list with you when you go to the grocery store. You will then have all the food you need to prepare the meals for the week ahead.
If finding time to grocery shop is difficult, consider ordering groceries or meal kits online and having them delivered to your home. An unpredictable schedule can make it difficult to plan. Start with just one or two meals a week. That way, ingredients don’t go uneaten and spoil in your refrigerator.
Leftovers are great for lunch the next day. If you don’t like leftovers, stick to recipes that make just enough servings for your family. There are online recipes and meal planning apps that allow you to adjust the recipe for the number of servings. You can also try making things that mix and match with different ingredients. For example a roasted chicken can be used later in a soup.
Not everyone likes to cook or enjoys being in the kitchen. By doing a little planning you can be in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. Look for recipes that can be made in fewer than thirty minutes and have only a few ingredients.
If planning specific meals ahead of time just isn’t your thing, it may help to keep your kitchen stocked with items you can use to put together different meals.
Keep cans of beans and tomatoes and boxes of pasta and grains in your pantry. Freeze meat to keep it until you are ready to use it, and stock your refrigerator with versatile fresh ingredients like lemons, limes, garlic, ginger and parsley.
Look at your meal plan and see if there is anything you can do ahead to make the week easier. Perhaps there are onions that need to be chopped. You can cut up onions and store them in a Ziploc or other container.
I like to marinate chicken ahead of time. You can even place the chicken in a Ziploc, add the marinade and pop the chicken in the freezer. The day you are planning to cook the chicken, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. It will be all ready to cook by dinnertime. I usually take our chicken out of the freezer the night before as our freezer does such a good job and the meat needs a little more time to thaw!
There are many notepads you can buy to place on your fridge to jot down dinner ideas and shopping lists. By doing just a little bit of planning you will answer the age old question of what’s for dinner? – and help solve the problem of too much food going to the landfill!