What use is buying ingredients to cook at home if you, the average Malaysian household, throw away 0.5-0.8kg of uneaten food per day? I thought you wanted to save money, and eat healthier at the same time?
I’m going to spare you the lecture, because honestly I’m not your mom, even if the food waste problem in Malaysia does piss me off a bit.
Do you even know how many people are starving as we speak- And we dare to say we are a food nation Food waste is such a stupid problem. I thought we have advanced enough as a society to solve this but the fact that we HAVEN’T, UGH
The System I Use to Stop Food Waste in My House
I’m not saying my system is perfect, but it damn near is – I haven’t thrown anything* out since I implemented it back in January 2020. And by doing so, I have stretched my groceries budget further, too.
(okay, I do throw out wilted/spoiled parts of vegetables and other food items once in a while, maybe once every two/three weeks or so).
The solution: use this note-keeping system in your notebook
Write down on the left-hand side: ALL your groceries, sorted by categories. You can make your own, but mine is:
Write down on the right-hand side:
- Foods you cooked with the ingredients
- Recipes you want to make
- Ingredients you need to use up
- Ingredients you need to buy to complete a recipe
The system is easy enough to use:
- List out all your ingredients on the left-hand side
- Cross em out as you use them up
- Write out the meals you made and want to make
The beauty of this system
#1 – You never forget what ingredient you already have
One of the best reason to use this system is you’ll always know what ingredients you already have, instead of buying more of it at the supermarket, ‘in case we’ve ran out’.
#2 – You can quickly scan your remaining ingredients and figure out what recipes you can make with them
You can ‘cook intuitively’ by looking at your remaining ingredients and figure out creative ways to cook them, or use websites like Supercook.com to help you find recipes using the exact ingredients you have left.
And if anything, leftover ingredients can always find their homes in fried rice and omelettes.
#3 – You can remind yourself to use up an ingredient/meal
The ‘to use up’ column is created precisely for this reason. Some ingredients naturally expire faster than others, and writing it down really helps to remind you to use it up sooner rather than later.
#4 – It works for people who plan meals by ingredients, rather than plan meals by recipes
One of the more common food-budgeting advice is to plan meals in advance, and only buy the ingredients to make those meals. For example, here’s how Financial Mak‘s meal plan looks like:
I’ve never really liked this method. My life is so boring that I like the excitement of , ‘oooh! I wonder what I am going to have today!’ during meal hours. I also love the grocery -shopping experience: finding fresh and interesting ingredients, and then plan my meals around those ingredients.
(Another pro: I buy ingredients that are on sale!)
#6 – It’s so easy to start
I don’t need another app, or another tracker. Just a fresh, new page in my notebook. And WHO doesn’t have a spare notebook lying around?
I’m really enjoying the process of crossing out ingredients. Visually, it tells me when I should plan my next grocery shopping trip as well: if most of the fruits/veges are crossed out, then its time for a trip!
How do you stop food waste in your household?
So I’ve shared my system. This system is perfect… for *me*. Obviously, that sample size is way too small to claim overall superiority. I wonder what system do YOU use to tackle the food waste problem in your home? Let me know your tips, tricks and hacks in the comments section!
Related – my other groceries/food-related articles:
- The Comprehensive Guide to Save Money on Groceries in Malaysia
- 5 Things I Did To Reduce My Damn High Groceries Bill
- HappyFresh Review: 10 Tips to Save Money and Time!