Reducing Food Waste and Saving Money With Meal Planning – Part 4

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prepared meals in storage bags

Unsure of what to do with extra food? Don’t throw away those meals! Planning meals in advance can save trips to the grocery store and keep money in your pocket. Remember to plan for meal preparation and cooking, leftover food from the meal, and excess purchased ingredients.

Here are some tips to help reduce food waste and food spending in your home.

Prepare fruits: Prep foods after you purchase them, so you can use them for snacking and cooking throughout the week. For example, remove the rind from large fruits such as pineapple and melons, cut them into chunks and place in airtight storage containers in the fridge so it is ready and easily eaten. Some produce is more prone to waste than others. To learn more, take a look at “Reduce Food Waste” on

Freezer Meals. When cooking, make extra to freeze. Casseroles, one-pot recipes, soups and stews are ideal. Other favorites include sloppy joes, tacos, shredded barbeque pork, and fillings to roll up a burrito. Freezing half of the prepared meal will help ensure your family doesn’t tire of the same food. Be sure to indicate on the container when the meal was cooked and frozen. Not sure how to package freezer meals? See “Freezer Meals: A simple solution with little clean up” on

Several meals from the same item. Large food items such a rotisserie chicken may take several days to consume. Get creative and prepare multiple meals from the same item. Day one, eat the chicken as an entrée with vegetables. Day 2, chicken noodle soup! They’ll be plenty of chicken and vegetables from day one and soup makes the perfect freezer meal. Day 3, use the remaining meat to enjoy a sandwich! Looking for recipes? See our 3-part series “One chicken – many meals” on

More In My Basket offers a Versatile Pantry session that focuses on creating a stocked pantry, the advantages of developing a three-day food supply, and creating meals from common pantry staples.

Contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Alleghany County Center at 336-372-5597 to learn more.
For questions about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or to receive application assistance, contact the More In My Basket staff:

English Toll Free: 1-855-240-1451
Spanish Toll Free: 1-888-382-7105