1. Shop efficiently by planning your weekly meals
Planning your weekly meals helps to you to shop efficiently and not overload our pantry and refrigerators with foods we are not going to be cooking. Pen down, what you plan to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner for 7 days of the week or for the next two weeks. Shop the dry groceries for 2 weeks and the perishables for just one week based on your menu plan. We really don’t need to stock large kilograms of packets of food if we exactly know what we plan to cook for the coming weeks.
2. Store fruits and vegetables in correct way
Storing the leaves, vegetables and fruits in a right way will help preserve them for a longer time.
Wash all the vegetables and fruits to remove dirt and contamination from external environments and handling.
Do not wash the green leafy vegetables or herbs – wash them only as and when required.
Wrap the washed and dried vegetables in cloth and then put them in plastic bags or zip locks and close them tight, so that there is no air pockets. It helps the vegetables stay for a longer time.
Do the same for the leaves and herbs – put them in airtight steel containers after treating them by removing dead leaves and roots. It helps the leaves stay fresh for at least a week.
3. Learn to preserve cooked foods efficiently and save leftovers
If you have cooked for more than one day, then a good idea would be to reheat food in individual plates so that reheated food does not get wasted and stale. Store them in airtight container and refrigerate them.
Also, if there leftovers after cooking, refrigerate them and do not throw them into dustbin. You can have it for your next meal, pack into your office lunch box or even give it to the helper at your home or in the community.
Note: reheated food goes stale and loses its value, so its value a good idea to only reheat as much food you need to eat – so portion them and then heat only what is required.
4. Use the skins and peels of fruits & veggies
Most skins and peels of vegetables can be used and eaten too. This way we dramatically reduce the amount of food waste we dump.
When making a sabzi of potatoes, add the skin to it – weather its a baked dish, gravy or curry, stir fry or roast use the skin. They are extremely tasty and healthy too. It a great way to get creative in your cooking and by experimenting on ingredients, peels and more to reduce food waste and yet make our food tasty and wholesome.
And same goes for bitter gourd (karela), carrots, beetroot, radish, yellow pumpkin – use the skin of these vegetables and don’t peel them. All you have to ensure is you wash the vegetables well before using then in food.
For peels from cucumber peel, orange peel, raw banana (kachha kela), ridge gourd (turia), bottle gourd (lauki)- the peels can be made into delicious chutneys. Do not throw them. Orange peel can be made into curries and rasam and tastes delicious.
Also don’t discard the stems from the greens, use them either in dals, chutneys or even in making pestos – this way you will completely eliminate food wastage.
5. Stick to staples
If we don’t get veggies – use dal, sooji, rice, besan, homemade dosa batter and keep your meals simple.
Simple dish meals like-
- Dal, Sambar, Rasam served along with rice/ chawal
- Upma Recipes, Poha, Cheela, Adai, Dosa
- Mixed Rice (Pulao, Lemon rice, tamarind rice, beetroot rice, palak rice, tomato rice)