Frugal tips · Islamic habits · Mindfulness

A Ramadan Habit- How to Stop Wasting Food in Your Home

I feel blessed that we can eat a variety of food everyday alhamdulillah. I consider every food as gift and a blessing from Allah(swt) and try not to waste any food in my home. This habit applies to saving all food, from eating the pizza crust to turning overripe bananas into smoothies and muffins.

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It takes some time to get used to the habit minimizing and eventually eliminating food waste but it has been rewarding in so many ways-

Keep the blessing and not toss it in the trash-

Every single food is a gift from Allah(swt). And I try my best so the blessings in food are not tossed in the trash can, not even a tiny portion of it. It is a privilege to have access to so much food but abundance and convenience can sometimes lead to waste, specially when it comes to food. I would think twice before chucking the pizza crust if I had to grow the wheat, grind it to flour and then turn it to pizza. And when it comes to stop wasting, no amount is too small, even a grain of rice. So by saving food you end up saving the blessing as well.

Reduce grocery budget

You will be saving a lot more on your grocery budget once the habit of not wasting food kicks in your lifestyle. You will be more mindful about using up what you already have which will naturally lead to spending less on your next grocery trip. You will be surprised to see how much you will be able to save on your grocery budget when you stop wasting food.

Produce less trash 

I was able to reduce the size of my trash to a fot into a 1.5 gallon waste bin because of zero food waste alhamdulillah. My trash can now contains only non edible parts of vegetables, fish, chicken etc, and only things that can’t be turned into food. You can make it even smaller if you are able to compost. A smaller trash bin can provides a great peace of mind while producing a much smaller carbon foot print. And no one complains about not having to haul out a giant trash bin.

Here is what you can do to stop wasting food-

Make intentions and ask for Allah’s help-

Our efforts for a good cause become much easier when we bring Allah(swt) in it. So make intentions that you are developing this habit to please Him and it will be easier for you insha Allah. Also, ask Allah(swt) to keep you motivated when you find it challenging.

Shopping-

Sopping wisely is a great way to prevent food waste. When you’re shopping you want to be realistic about food that your family will eat. If your family is not into green smoothies and raw deserts then it’s a good idea not to invest in too many greens and nuts.

Buy as much whole foods as you can so you can use most if not all of it. Don’t buy whole foods if you don’t need all of it or can’t use all of the food. Use your judgement and experience to decide the right choice for your family.

Buying from bulk bins can help you prevent food waste since you can purchase just the right quantity of your desired item. You can also buy in small quantity and replenish as needed.

Keep perishable in coolers and freezer bags to maintain quality.

Storing-

Foods stay fresh longer if stored well. Put away your grocery right away once you’re home. Leaving them in the bags for too long will diminish their quality that may reduce their shelf life as well.

Look for any rotten produce while storing fruits and vegetable so one bad apple doesn’t lead to a bag full of bad apples.

Make sure the bags are sealed well in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Binder clips are great for this purpose.

Prepping-

You can prevent food waste while prepping for a meal. You can use vegetable and meat scraps to make broths or soups. Don’t have time to make any of them right away? You can save the vegetable and meat scraps in a container and freeze them for later use.

You can eat some vegetables with their peel on, specially if they are organic or pesticide free. French fries, latkes and hashbrowns can be made with the potato peels on and carrots, cucumbers can be eaten with the peels on them.

You can use all of the cauliflower and broccoli, not just the flowers. And when it comes to trimming the tops or bottoms of vegetables or fruits, try to trim without wasting the good parts of it. The same goes for coring an apple, avocado etc- try to save as much fruit as you can.

Store leftover prepped items right away. Fruits, vegetable, meats can be stored in the fridge or freezer in containers. Got too much herbs and scallions? Wash herbs and store in a zip close bag in the freezer. You can use as needed once it’s frozen. The same goes for green onions- wash and chop the onions in desired size pieces, spread on a flat surface and freeze. Store them in a container or bag once they are frozen. You can freeze fruits as well, specially when you have too many on hand. These are great for making smoothies.

Eating-

Try not waste any food when you’re eating. Taking small helpings help to waste less. And when you are done make sure you have a clean plate, minimizing or even eliminating food waste.

Leftovers-

Store leftovers well to prevent from going bad. The sooner you store them the better to maintain taste and quality. You can freeze some of it if you have too much leftovers.

Spread bread or cheese pieces on a cookie sheet and freeze for later use like making crouton or grilled cheese sandwich.

Leftover rice is better than fresh rice for making fried rice. Extra rice can be frozen as well.

Couldn’t finish your cup of milk or juice? Just cover and put it in the fridge to finish later.

Prevention-

Don’t stock up on something that most of your family won’t eat.

Keep and review the inventory of your fridge and freezer every few days.

Check your pantry, fridge and freezer before going grocery shopping for a successful trip.

Cover your foods well when storing in the fridge or freezer.

Freeze overripe fruit like banana, strawberry etc- chop and spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze so they don’t stick together. store them in a bag or container.

Don’t open packages of similar items at the same time, like cookies, chips, icecream etc to prevent waste.

Close bags, lids, containers well when storing foods to keep from bugs and maintain the quality.

Freeze nuts and seeds so they don’t become rancid.

I hope you will find these tips useful and can benefit from them. Learning to stop wasting food takes times but the result is worth it. It is a rewarding practice to learn to keep the blessings that we receive in food from Allah(swt).

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