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How to Shop Your Fridge & Pantry to Reduce Food Waste

vegetarian chili with jalapeno ranch

You feel guilty… there was so much food that you had to toss this morning because it went bad before your family could eat it. All that beautiful produce you were going to use, ugh, what a waste! We’ve all been there…there are times that despite the best of intentions food goes to waste. Let’s talk about some easy ways we can do better!

It’s worth the effort. According to the FDA, “In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30–40 percent of the food supply.” In fact, wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in landfills. And then think of the water, energy, and labor used to produce wasted food, that could have been used elsewhere.

Then there’s our wallet to think about — groceries are getting more expensive. You don’t want to opt for cheap food with lots of fillers, preservatives and artificial stabilizers. You want nutritious, healthy, natural food because it’s better for you and the environment. 

Let’s see how to minimize the amount of this delicious, healthy food that ends up in your garbage can…

Plant Based Protein

5 “Shop Your Fridge” Tips

#1 – Stay Organized

Imagine shopping in a grocery store where you never knew which aisle the salad dressing was located because every week it changed. But isn’t it true that sometimes food gets “lost” in the fridge and by the time you’ve discovered it, it’s spoiled? Try to stick with a system for where you keep certain types of food so you easily find what you need when you need it.

#2 – Store Smart

There are tricks to storing fresh foods so they last longer. Do your research so you know what temperature to keep your refrigerator at and which food should be stored in each location. (This article from Real Simple has a helpful guide, The Ultimate Guide to Storing Every Type of Food in the Refrigerator for Long-Lasting Freshness.) Also, when you buy something new, rotate the older items to the front so they’re used first before they expire. 

#3 – Use Themes to Stay Flexible

It’s fun to try a new recipe. You run to the store and buy all the ingredients you need so you can follow it down to the letter. While there’s nothing wrong with that, a more flexible approach can help reduce waste. It can be helpful to think of the theme of the meals you want to make this week. Come up with themes you and your family will enjoy — like Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or Friday Pizza Night. Before you head to the store think about the things you already have that can be used for your theme night.

#4 – Make a Random-Ingredient Meal

When you have leftovers or produce that needs to be used now, try one of these adaptable meal options:

These particular meals are great because there are hundreds of ways you can use leftovers and random items from your fridge or pantry without having to run to the store to buy more food. For example, we like to put any of our extra summer produce (like berries, peaches and nectarines) in our freezer and then blend it with Genesis Organic Juice for delicious and nutritious smoothies all year long!

Search our recipe page for some inspiration and new, out-of-the-box ideas!

#5 – Get Creative

We love playing with different recipes here at Toby’s. But don’t forget, recipes shouldn’t be written in stone. You can add, subtract or swap things out and still end up with a delicious meal. Did you run out of your favorite Toby’s Ranch Dressing, how about trying Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing instead? You don’t have your favorite Toby’s Jalapeño Plant Based Dip & Spread but can you swap it for the original flavor with some of Toby’s Seasoning Mix for a bit more punch? You might find new favorites when you give yourself permission to improvise.

To help you “shop your fridge” here are a few of Toby’s Recipes that are flexible and utilize ingredients most of us already have. And don’t forget… it’s okay to get creative with them.

These five tips are easy and your wallet and the environment will benefit! If you have a creative way you’re using one of Toby’s products, we’d love to hear from you

If you’re looking for even more inspiration on healthy, environmentally-friending eating… join our family! You can stay up-to-date with our new recipes, product specials and savings, and tips for healthy food-lovers by signing up for our newsletter.