Plan What To Buy
By Save Food Cut Waste
Sonia Fevre consults for a non-profit organisation working in Southeast Asia, which means she travels a lot and meets many farmers. She is conscious of the different small scale farming and massive wet markets found in some parts of Asia, and finds that Singapore is lucky to have so many types of products available for consumption.
Despite her busy travel schedule, Sonia takes time to shop for food and believes in using a shopping list:
I always have a shopping list with me when I go shopping – this is a running list of items that I add to during the week. I make my shopping list on old scraps of cut up paper, small enough to keep in a pocket. I like to have paper so that I can add and cross things out as necessary.
My list always contains standard items that I need every week with generic terms like ‘yoghurt’, ‘fruit’, ‘vegetables’, but I also try and plan a sort of menu calendar ahead of time. I might crave lasagne or soba noodle salad, so I’ll look up recipes for these dishes ahead of time and add them to the list.
Having a list keeps Sonia focused, otherwise she would go into the shop without much sense of purpose, waste time and often end up with random things. Another tip is not to go shopping when she’s hungry because then she knows she will just buy things on impulse. Sonia admits that it’s sometimes a challenge to stick to the list so she leaves mental space for ‘treats’ as part of the shopping experience.
Before you go shopping for food, plan what to buy using a shopping list. This would help you avoid buying more food than you need.
Make a Shopping List
One easy way to cut food waste and save money is to plan what to buy using a shopping list! Most of the time, we tend to buy on impulse at the supermarket or grocery store and end up with more food than is needed. When you overbuy, the extra food is often not eaten before its expiry date and you would have to throw the expired food away.
If you can’t resist the offers, special deals and nice food displays when you’re shopping for food, why not prepare a list of food items you need before going shopping? Stick to the list and buy only those items on your list.
When making your list, remember to take into account the food items you already have in your refrigerator and cupboard, so that you can avoid buying extra.
Plan Your Weekly Menu
Another good tip is to plan what to buy based on a weekly menu. Think about what to cook for the coming week and include the ingredients in your shopping list.
You might also wish to choose food ingredients that can be used easily for several different dishes, or those that have a longer shelf life.
Mobile Apps for Your Shopping List
You can write down your shopping list on a notebook or piece of paper, or you can try out these mobile apps to help you make a shopping list or create a weekly menu:
The free Healthy Chef iPhone app by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) provides over 70 healthier recipes created by renowned chefs in Singapore. The app allows you to adjust the amount of ingredients needed for cooking based on the number of servings, and creates a shopping list based on the selected recipes.
Green Egg Shopper
The Green Egg Shopper app for iPhone and iPad allows users to create shopping lists and set ‘Use By’ dates for food items in the list. The app helps you to avoid overbuying when shopping, and lets you manage food storage in your home so that food is not wasted due to the missing of expiry dates. You can download the ‘Lite’ version of the app for free to try it out. Here’s a short video introduction:
222 million tons
The free 222 million tons iPad app provides collections of weekly recipe menus and shopping lists. You can select the number of servings and the weekly menu, and the shopping list for the ingredients will be generated. Just follow the recipes in the weekly menu to cook and finish up the ingredients.
Start today and plan what to buy before you go shopping for food. Use a shopping list and plan a weekly menu to help you avoid buying more food than you need.
Images credit: Sonia Fevre – Shopping List, Sonia Fevre; Screenshot of Healthy Chef app, Health Promotion Board; Screenshot of 222 million tons app – Weekly Meal Plan, 222 million tons; Screenshot of 222 million tons app – Shopping List, 222 million tons
Interview credit: Sonia Fevre
More Tips for Individuals and Households
- Grow and Buy
- Cook and Eat
- Give and Recycle