How to Prevent Overbuying and Wasting of Fresh Foods

Are you one of those shoppers that gets all geeked out over going to farmer’s market or heading down the fresh produce row? You load up on colorful berries, lots of salad greens, a few melons, some vegetables…maybe even some mushrooms and a bunch of fresh herbs. That sounds wonderful – and it even makes me hungry! But did you really need all of it on that ONE trip?

The hard part about eating healthy is planning to do it. No one likes to make extra trips to the grocery store or the market or the fruit stand, so in an effort to save time and gas for another trip, you load up on more of the fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, unless you have a big family that can consume all of those fresh products, you might be wasting some. You actually might be wasting more than some and equal to half of what you bought in the first place. Is that any savings?

Nope. In an effort to save time and money, you’ve wasted as much money, but just in a different form. Here are a few tips to keep from overbuying and wasting fresh produce:

– Plan for three days. Only buy the fresh produce that you will need for meals for three days out. Sure, it makes it a pain to go to the store every third or fourth day, but your food is fresher and you aren’t throwing a bunch away in the trash can each week.

– Don’t buy extra to save a few pennies. Sure, that quart of strawberries might be two for $5, but did you really need 4 quarts? Are you making something that requires that many in the next three days? Certain fruits, especially strawberries and raspberries can grow mold quickly. In three days, those beautiful berries could go from colorful to white and moldy! Yuck! Unless you have time to take care of them and put in the freezer right away, buy a smaller quantity.

– Make a menu. All of those fresh items on the farmer’s market stand look tasty, but don’t just buy to buy. Have a menu planned and KNOW what you need to buy. lack of planning makes for a lot of wasted food simply because you didn’t have a recipe in mind when you bought all of those zucchinis.

– Utilize the freezer. If you absolutely can’t resist a sale and buying all of that fruit, then come home and put some of it in the freezer immediately. Sure, it won’t be resh, but you can pull it out anytime you want and have it. Frozen recently is better than wasted in the trash!

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