Having diabetes means that you are not allowed to consume a certain amount of specific foods, or you need to eat one small piece of something instead of the whole thing. These behavioral adjustments cause a lot of food waste. In this article, we tried to collect the best pieces of advice on the topic. Read them all down and try to integrate some healthy habits into your life.
- Fridge/pantry inventorization – Look around your house and pull out all the food in your kitchen (or closet). You will be surprised by how much you actually have. While this task will give you information about your food supply at home, it will make you move and clean – two additional positives. Make an accurate inventory list to use for your meal prepping.
- Weekly meal planning – prioritize planning your cooking sessions during the week because we all know how busy life can go unexpectedly. Good time management can save you a lot of struggles around food choices and food waste. Making a weekly menu could be a little bit daunting at first, but you can always start with what you have at home.
- Stick to the shopping list – already knowing what you have at home and what you are planning to cook next week will eventually lead you to make a grocery list. Remember to grab it before going to the store and be rational when putting things in your shopping cart. Avoid purchasing unneeded or unnecessary foods so you can be sure that they won’t become another source of wasted food.
- Don’t buy more than you can eat – we are all guilty of doing that, especially if something is on sale and you want to stock up on it. Be realistic and ask yourself if you are capable of eating all of that Greek yogurt you are reaching for. Hoarding food most of the time leads to more food waste.
- Store food correctly – for one type of food to have the longest shelf life, it must be stored correctly. Read about the right ways to keep your food safe to eat by looking at the label or consult with your friends and family about this.
- Leftovers reuse methods – cook a big dinner and take the leftovers to work with you the next day so you can eat them during lunch. This is the absolute time and stress saver. Being in the office during a busy day, having so many tasks and unread emails – thinking of what to have for lunch is the last thing you want to do when the clock shows noon. Another way to use leftovers is by freezing them and enjoying them at a later time. You can make a double batch of one meal and freeze the extra one so you can pull it when you have no time and motivation to cook. Why not cook with leftovers or use different techniques to make your meal planning more versatile? If you have used cooked Quinoa as a side dish for dinner – then on the other day, you can put it as the main ingredient in a yummy stir-fried Quinoa with vegetables.
- Use the same ingredients in different ways – every time you cook something, try a different technique. Food ingredients are so versatile. You can boil, poach, fry, and even bake an egg. You can first boil it and then fry it. Use an egg as main or as a side dish, mix it in your salad or separate the yolk from the white to create souses – hollandaise (warm serving) and mayonnaise (cold serving). A great way to save all your recipes is the diabetes management application Diabetes:M. Create healthy meals and dishes that you can always refer to when planning your mealtime.
- Avoid daily trips to the grocery store – sometimes, our energy levels are so low that we want a quick fix by going to the grocery store on our way back home. Don’t forget about all the food items that are sitting in your fridge waiting for you to eat them. Make a simple dish by throwing a few things in the oven, or make a salad with what you have at home (just make sure it is low carb). There are plenty of easy 15 to 30 minutes recipes online – pick and choose your favorites.
- Put fruits and vegetables at eye level – we often forget about the nutritious fruits and vegetables at home. They don’t have that long of a shelf life like other processed foods. So, reorganize your pantry/kitchen/fridge (wherever you store your fruits and veggies) to make a place for them on your eye level. This trick will hopefully make you consider eating fresher and healthier.
- Donate unused food – maybe some kind of food is triggering your glucose levels. Maybe you didn’t read the label carefully and some canned goods have more carbohydrates than recommended for one sitting. Give back to society by donating unwanted food. There are many food banks, charities, and non-governmental organizations where you can go maybe once per month to donate. If the amount you are planning to toss is little, give some of your unwanted food to your relatives, friends, or colleagues.
Diabetes causes a lot of daily challenges where food waste takes up a big portion of them. By simply planning your food consumption a little bit more carefully and incorporating some tips around shopping, leftovers, and other general bits of advice, you can reduce your food waste to the minimum.