FIFO on Steroids - How to Not Waste Your Food

For a while now, I have not been proud of how much food we waste. I do FIFO all the time, but still  end up throwing out soggy cucumbers or giving the dog Tuesday night's sweet potatoes or forgetting about a pork chop wrapped in foil. I waste food.

Food is money. Cold hard cash. When we throw our food away we are putting our hard earned dollars in the trash! It pains me.

I recently read The Nightingale, a novel, historical fiction, set in WWII. The main characters are French women living under Nazi oppression. My favorite parts of the book were about how they used up all the little bits of food, letting nothing go to waste. Their food rations were painfully modest, so naturally they used everything.

I so admire the ability to be frugal, creative, and not wasteful in the kitchen. I've been working to improve but still missing the mark so many weeks as I throw away more food in the trash.

So the other day when I found this post by Kendra the Lazy Genius, I had an a-ha moment, a revelation. I was totally blown away and inspired.

Kendra says...

"Before you plan and before you shop, prep. "

FIFO on steroids style.

What? Why have I never ever thought to do this before? In one big session. The idea is before you plan your next week's meals and before you make a grocery list and before you shop, you prep - everything that's lingering on its final days in your fridge, get it out, chop, roast, eat. And then make a list so you know what you've got.

Last week, I gave this concept a try. I washed, chopped, cooked, grated, froze, labeled, and reconfigured our meals so we could eat up all this perfectly good food. Once I got started I was amazed at all the food we had. Amazed!


Here's what I ended up with...

spinach - from the farmers market, too fibrous and bitter for salads - I cooked it and froze it for soups.

zucchini - grated and froze to later make zucchini bread

squash - chopped and roasted - side for dinner

leftover baked sweet potatoes - removed peels and diced for a side dish or to give to Caroline

leftover red potatoes - roasted, side dish or perfect with scrambled eggs

pineapple, strawberries, peaches - cut up and put in containers for easy snacks

chocolate chip cookie dough to keep in fridge

I have never done this large and serious of a food round up before planning and shopping for my next week of meals. 

I can't wait to make this a regular thing. I seriously think this will solve some of my grocery budget woes.

Do you do this? Do you waste food?


  1. we waste food and it drives me crazy too. this is a great idea, thanks for posting!

  2. AMAZING!!! Totally doing this! Thank you for sharing

  3. I do this all the time. I'm quick to toss stuff in the freezer if I don't have a clear plan for it at that moment.

    Kim from Phila

  4. what a telling metaphor, throwing money in the trash!! eeek! We have a compost pile, but still. . . I think we do pretty well with not wasting food. I have to tell people what needs to be eaten next when there are options at lunch and breakfast and sometimes they don't like it (not sure I like being the boss either), but that's the most efficient way for getting the soft berries eaten and leaving the longer-storing apples alone.

    I do look through my fridge several times a week and either plan the perishables into my menu or else process it into something else and freeze/can it. I ALWAYS look before I go grocery shopping or market shopping, and I usually look at the calendar then, too, so I can think about what activities are coming up and what food needs might be.

    oh, and here's a tip: I use lunches as a way to use up the odds and ends of food hanging around. I prefer to just plan/cook dinner, not lunch as well. The kids are not fond of this approach, but I have explained why we're doing it this way (food is precious and we've paid money for it and it doesn't have to be new and exciting every meal).

  5. Great idea Margo.
    Bet you were shocked by the amount of usable food you actually found to eat.
    Keep it up :)
    I too pop bits and pieces in the freezer and then make a small meal for one as needed.

    Ps...glad I Stumbled across your blog again Margo. Haven't visited for ages :)

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