There’s been alot of buzz lately about Glad’s Fresh Food Challenge. A quick Google search proves it – many families have jumped on the bandwagon.
What is the Glad Fresh Food Challenge? It’s an awesome way to save money, that’s for sure! It’s a two week challenge to waste NO food at all. That’s right, nothing besides peels and cores for your compost bin for two weeks straight.
As you may have guessed, our family has been doing this very thing for the past two weeks. Did we nail it? Well, maybe not so much. But we certainly kept more out of the trash than in! And I’d say that’s a good thing.
So here’s how it works: the amazing people at Glad generously sent us some supplies to use during our two week challenge – Glad Storage Bags (which I now use for everything!), Glad Sandwich Bags, Press n’ Seal Wrap (which is amazing stuff!), and Glad Cling Wrap. Then we did our best waste as little food as possible.
Why did we do it? I would love to be able to say that we were concerned about the resources we were wasting in fossil fuels, water and packaging and that we wanted to do our part to give back to the planet.
But really, we did it for the money.
Take a look at this: The average Canadian family throws out 13% of all food. That equals $725 for the average family. We have a larger family than the average. Want to know what 13% of our grocery bill is? $936. So if we’re throwing out 13% of our groceries, we’re taking almost $1000 each year and tossing it straight into the garbage. Don’t tell my husband.
Not only that though, but the average Canadian wastes over $175 each year just on their produce spoiling. Yikes, this is one time when being less than average would be a good thing.
So to save money, we took the challenge. And we did alright. Here are a few ways we cut back on food wastage during our two week challenge:
Buying less food in the first place. I went shopping with this challenge in mind. Knowing how much we generally eat of various foods made this easy – I bought what I knew we would eat. I wouldn’t call it menu planning exactly, but I did think through how much of each meat, vegetable and starch we would eat at each sitting, and bought just enough.
Serving food family-style. This is something we’ve always done anyway, but I found it really helped during this challenge. I set our food on the table with serving utensils and the kids serve themselves, as opposed to me making up their plates for them. This has really taught them (for the most part) to regulate their own portion sizes and has often been an exercise in putting others first (with 5 chicken breasts on the platter and 5 people at the table, if I take 2 someone won’t get one). So, when the kids help themselves, they’re more likely to finish everything on their plates which means … no food waste!
Designating leftovers for a specific meal. Usually our leftovers are packed up and Andy takes them to work for lunch. But when the leftovers are taking over the fridge, I make sure we eat them up on the weekend during a virtual Smogasbord of Leftovers. I usually reheat the food just as it is, rather than reworking them into a new recipe. And we eat off of (biodegradable) paper plates. Because hey, it’s the weekend!
Packaging leftovers properly the first time! It drives me nuts when someone puts the pizza into the fridge in the box it was delivered in. It goes stale almost immediately. So many times I need to jump in and pack things up before anyone else gets to it. But that’s where my Glad Storage Bags came in – I used them for everything! Cheese, pizza, and unwrapped cereal bars, as well as toddler snacks, baby wipes and Thanksgiving decorations (like I said, everything!), I definitely put those bad boys to use!
So how did we REALLY do on our two week Glad Fresh Food Challenge? Well, I had to toss some overcooked carrots and I just could not stuff that last spoonful of stew into my already full tummy, so we did waste some. But we wasted far less in these past two weeks than in most other weeks, and I think we could chalk it all up to one last thought:
Be intentional about cutting back on food waste. Make it a goal to reduce your waste! If the kids won’t eat a whole sandwich, make them a half of a sandwich. If they won’t have time to eat 20 grapes for their school snack, only send 10. It just makes sense.
I think we’ll definitely be keeping up on our Glad Fresh Food Challenge, even though our two weeks are up! Now to do the math on how much money we’ve saved already ….
I was compensated for this post, but all of the opinions and advice are my own!