When is the last time you asked yourself: Are you purchasing the right fruits and vegetables for your lifestyle?
Maybe this is something you haven’t thought of before, and that’s okay. Life is busy and hectic and sometimes it’s a miracle that you have the time to go grocery shopping for the food you need for the upcoming work week.
However, as busy as life is, we encourage you to take some time to focus more on what you’re purchasing and and if you’re actually eating it to help cut down on food waste.
Your lifestyle is unique — and so should be your grocery shopping.
You probably have never thought of your grocery shopping as unique in any way — it’s such a mundane, ordinary task that everyone does — but what you buy and what you eat is tied to your schedule and what your average day looks like.
When you view it this way, you will see where you can change your buying habits to better work for you.
Before completely changing your purchasing habits, audit yourself for a month or two — keep track of what you purchase as well as what you throw out. Don’t uproot your entire grocery system until you see a real reason to thoroughly analyze what you’re current grocery trip looks like and what you are eating and what is being thrown away.
A simple way of tracking of what you buy is to keep a grocery list that you stick to at the store and then save in your wallet or just save your receipt.
If you tend to lose your receipts, make it a habit of wedging the receipt under a magnet on your fridge or put them in a folder so the list can be reviewed monthly and compared to the other lists. This allows you to easily access them for review to compare which weeks you spent more at the store, what you bought to see what items you used and which ones were thrown away.
As for the second half of your food audit, the produce you find yourself throwing out because it has gone bad before you’ve eaten it will be the key to understanding if your purchasing habits are or aren’t fitting your lifestyle.
Most of the time, when we throw produce out, it’s because it went bad before we could eat it, or because we repeatedly chose to eat something else, and it just sat in the fridge. No judgements here, we’ve done the same thing, however this continuous pattern may be something that could be changed or stopped just by taking inventory of what you are actually eating compared to what is being thrown out.
One simple way to track this is to keep a notepad and pen by the trash in your kitchen or a magnet one on your fridge and each time you throw something out due to it having gone bad before you ate it, write the name of the produce down and each time you throw out that same produce add a tally next to it.
After a few months of tracking your produce, as well as any other food groups you’d like to focus on, take a look at three things: what you’ve purchased, of those purchases what you’ve thrown out, and especially, which items you’ve thrown out repeatedly.
When you frequently find yourself throwing away the same kinds of produce, it’s not by chance, this means those pieces of food do not fit your lifestyle. Now you can go to the store with confidence in buying only what you will eat, reducing food waste and saving you money.
Just because you love a fruit or veggie doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to buy for what your schedule is currently.
You might love spinach but if it gets wilted, and soggy more often than you eat it in salads, sandwiches and dinner, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how much you buy of it and consider possible alternatives to fit your lifestyle and current eating habits.
Separate what you love from what you actually eat.
Your life is busy and it’s full of many places to focus on. If you’re always on the go, needing to eat on-the-go, buy produce that is easy on-th- go such as apples, grapes, carrots, berries, and snow peas.
If you don’t have time to cook meals that take a moderate amount of preparation, try to avoid purchasing vegetables that require extra attention, prep, and cooking such as zucchini, squash, eggplant, and brussels sprouts.
Instead reach for veggies that can be enjoyed immediately like arugula, cucumbers, peppers, and broccoli.
Your lifestyle could mean the opposite if you have a lifestyle that allows ample time to prep, cook and create interesting meals. Are you throwing out veggies you love because they’ve gone bad even though you’ve been home cooking delicious meals? Maybe this is because you’re tired of the vegetables you’ve always bought and have no desire to eat them at the moment. There are many unique and tasty veggies out there, go and experiment or cut back on the amount purchased in one grocery trip to ensure you eat what has been purchased!
The changes you make to the items you buy at the grocery store don’t have to be drastic.
By swapping a few items that you discover aren’t working for your lifestyle,will make a difference. You will see an increase of the FRESH foods you eat and a decrease of the amount you throw out, overall contributing to a reduction in your carbon footprint.
By starting to more closely match your diet to your current lifestyle, you will maximize what you buy and save yourself a chunk of money on groceries rather than have it wasted in the trash. What will you do with all of that extra cash back in your pocket?!