42 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Food Waste (Seriously, We All Need To)

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DIY Pink Lemonade Sugar Scrub

Great Idea!

livelifeforless

sugar scrub

Ever use sugar scrub? I feel like it’s something a lot of women don’t acknowledge or know too much about, but it’s great stuff! It’s a perfect product for exfoliating, smells amazing, and leaves your skin feeling incredibly smooth. Sugar scrub is a great choice if your have sensitive skin, and wonderful to use for dry skin, as the sugar and oil combined really hydrates. However, sugar scrub isn’t the cheapest product in the world.

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Sephora offers this fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish for $65.00 and Ulta offers their Whish Sugar Scrub for $38.00. This DIY Pink Lemonade Sugar Scrub will cost you a grand total of $11.99. But, the best part about making sugar scrub is you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen already! To make basic, non-scented sugar scrub, all you need is two ingredients: sugar (you guessed it) and any kind of oil.

This particular…

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Spring Cleaning Fun 1- from TODAY

11 easy DIY spring cleaning tips (including Tang in the toilet!)

March 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM ET

You will not believe these spring-cleaning tips from TODAY contributor and lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew, who’s showing how to get your kitchen and bathroom sparkling with easy items you already have around the house!

1. Sanitize the sink

Your dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than your toilet seat!

Spring cleaning

TODAY

To disinfect, clean your sink with soap and water first.

Spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen peroxide,and let air-dry. Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide togetherspray one after the other.

If your sink is stainless steel, make it sparkle afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing.

2. Disinfect the sponge

Sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Disinfect your sponge every night by running it through your dishwasher with your nightly load.

When it’s shredded and smelly, replace it.

3. Disinfect the garbage disposal

To get rid of odors, run it with a cut-up lemon, some salt and a few ice cubes.

The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue.

Spring cleaning

TODAY

4. Don’t forget the dishwasher 

Once a week, shake baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe around the machine’s edges to remove stuck-on food or stains. 

To clean the inside, run an empty cycle with Dishwasher Magic, a product designed to kill bacteria like E.Coli.

5. Empty the fridge and defrost the freezer

Pull out all contents and toss anything past its prime. 

Wipe down and deodorize shelves with a solution of warm water and baking soda (1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 1 quart warm water).

Pull refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum dust and dirt.

6. Line your oven

Cut down on the need to frequently clean your oven by lining the bottom with a nonstick oven liner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher and reused over and over.

Keeping the interior range top burners and reflectors clean, you can save up to 10 percent by redirecting heat more efficiently, warming food faster and more evenly.

Spring cleaning

TODAY

7. Deep-clean your bathroom shower head

Pour white vinegar into a sturdy plastic bag big enough to submerge the shower head. Using a rubber band, secure it and let it soak overnight.

Shower head cleaning

TODAY

Remove the bag and run the shower to rinse. This process removes calcium deposits as well as any lingering bacteria.

8. Make shower door and tracks shine

Start by making a paste of baking soda and distilled white vinegar (1 cup to a few drops) and rub it over the door.

You can clean the track by wrapping some fine steel wool around an old toothbrush and rubbing it back and forth to loosen any grime or mildew.

Let paste sit for an hour and then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Rinse off and buff dry with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

A closed-loop microfiber cloth is a super-soft textile with great absorption power and water because the scrubbing action and absorption grab mildew from grout.

Spring cleaning

TODAY

9. Clear out the drain

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then follow it with 1/2 cup vinegar.

Cover it with a wet cloth, wait 5 minutes, uncover and flush with steaming-hot water.

10. Wash shower curtain

Run plastic shower curtains through the washing machine with a bit of detergent and some old towels (they will act as scrubbers to get rid of soap scum and mildew). Hang to dry.

11. Tackle the toilet

Drop a teaspoon of Tang drink mix in the bowl. The citric acid acts like a scrubber. Best of all, it’s non-toxic.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then swish and flush.

Greener Library

Book Waste

When is the last time you went in an culled your book collection? Not only will you feel good about decluttering, you will also do something green, because you can always donate books. Most libraries have a book donation area. These will either stay at the local library or go to underprivileged areas.

If you can’t stand the idea of losing a book, you can also do a swap! Get some of your nerd friends together and trade off! Set up a meet up and off you go.

Think Greener

Think Greener.

We spend a lot of our time worrying. We often put so much effort into the minutia that we fill our minds with flotsam and jetsam. Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but most people don’t take the time to clean the most important area they have, their MIND.

Since the brain is the center of everything one has, I thought it would be nice to take a week of posting and talking about some ways to clean out betwixt ones’ ears.

READ SOME SMUT
Ok, it might sound silly, but I want you to go and do some inconsequential reading. I find as I get older, I do less reading just for the heck of it. Take some time and turn off the wheels and be entertained. Take away the noise on the outside and in and just snicker through a silly read.

OR DAY DREAM FANTASTICALLY
Day dream like when you were young. Don’t do some if I had a million dollars or if I had stayed with such and such kind of day dreaming. Go and imagine dragons. Imagine a grand space adventure. Rule a kingdom. Stop the day to day litany and just go with something that could never actually happen. I want no specific or obtainable ‘what if’s’ to come in and kill the fun.

MEDITATE
Meditation is just awesome. It’s a great skill to learn. The way I like to do it is:
Find a comfortable position (don’t care if it’s lying down or a handstand), then just think, every time a thought comes in let it slip away like water, once you get there then you can practice keeping a thoughtless moment when you inhale or exhale, then just let it stay that way on both inhale and exhale.

COMMUNE WITH NATURE
Go for a hike. Just take the time to look around. Take a camera and find something that is beautiful that you would have never noticed. This is a no brainer . 🙂

GO OUT WITH AN OLD FRIEND
Reuniting with people means that you have the chance to communicate without the problem of drama. You can bull and gripe, cheer and smile, because you won’t be all that invested. Their drama will not add to yours. Just have some Fun.

GO DO SOMETHING YOU USED TO LOVE TO DO
Haven’t gone dancing in a while? Play soccer? I know you used to have a hobby and you’ve lost it. Go take a class, go paint a picture. Just spend a night doing something you were passionate about and enjoy and remember that feeling. Be in that memory.

BURN IT AWAY
Take some stressful time in your life and burn it up (with fire safety in mind). You can write down a bad experience or feeling and throw it in a fire pit. You can take that thing your ex left from the break-up and burn it. You can even make a party with close friends and share the experience of cleansing with fire. Either way after it’s burnt, you should probably do marshmallows too.

GET LOST
Take a day and just get lost without a time restraint. Explore a new place. Get excited without the distraction of responsibility.

That’s my list. If you’ve got a great idea feel free to post it down below!

Wear Green.

Want to be a little greener?

Got a lot of friends? A church group? Any group?

Why not try hosting a clothing swap? You just take clothes that you don’t wear, get your buddies to do the same, and VIOLA you’re set. You can do a local clothing swap and donate what ever is left over. It’s a great idea to be a little greener and a little stylish!

Eating Well on the Cheap

Eating Well on the Cheap

Saving Money on Healthy Food

Improving Emotional HealthIn the current economy, many of us are living on a budget and looking for ways to reduce food expenses while still enjoying tasty, nutritious meals. With the right tips and a little planning, it is possible to enjoy healthy food on the cheap. The more you focus on purchasing local, unprocessed food and preparing meals at home, the healthier and tastier your meals will be, the better you’ll feel, and the more money you’ll save.

You can save money and still enjoy healthy, delicious food

Making smart choices saves money. Evaluate how you spend your money on food. What unnecessary items do you purchase? Do you eat out often? The first way to save money on food is to limit or cut out unnecessary food spending. Some specific ways to do this:

  • Cut the junk. Evaluate how much money you are spending on items such as soda (regular or diet), cookies, crackers, prepackaged meals, processed foods, etc. Limit or completely cut out these unhealthy foods. Your wallet and your body will thank you.
  • Eat out less. Even just reducing your meals out by 1 or 2 times per week can save you about $15 – $25 per week. This is an easy way to save money and even have some extra to spend on higher quality foods.
  • Stick to your grocery list. The more prepared you are when you get to the store the less impulse purchases you will make. So write out a grocery list and stick to it!
  • Shop the perimeter of the store first. This way you will fill your cart with healthy whole foods like fresh produce and meat, leaving less room for the “junk food fillers” and thus saving money.
  • Cook large portions. It saves time to cook once and eat multiple times. One idea is to make a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week or whenever you go food shopping. When you don’t feel like cooking, help yourself to a hearty bowlful along with a green salad. This makes a nutritious but inexpensive lunch or dinner anytime.
  • Beware of hidden sugars. Many packaged or processed foods contain high levels of hidden sugar. They may be easy to prepare and fill your family up for cheap, but too much sugar causes rapid swings in energy and blood sugar, and can contribute to many serious health problems. Hidden sugar may be listed as corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, cane juice, fructose, dextrose, or maltose. Avoid foods such as instant mashed potatoes, white bread, canned soups and vegetables, refined pasta, and sugary cereals. Satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, and sweet potatoes.

Know your good carbs from your bad carbs

Healthy carbs (sometimes known as good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, providing long-lasting energy and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and only short-lived energy.

Purchasing the healthiest food possible

When eating on the cheap it is still important to think about the quality/purity of the food you purchase. How foods are grown or raised has an impact on their quality and an impact your health. Organically grown food reduces the potential health and environmental hazards posed by pesticides, genetically modified food, irradiation, and additives. An investment in your food now could save you money on health bills later.

Here are a few ways to stretch your money when purchasing high quality, organic foods:

  • Buy the highest quality possible for the foods you eat the most. This way you reduce your exposure to things such as pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics, while increasing the nutritional value of your food. Organic foods have higher levels of antioxidants and various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
  • Use excess food money to buy higher quality food. If possible, focus on purchasing organic/grass-fed/free-range sources of meat and dairy in order to avoid the possibility of high concentrations of antibiotics and hormones being passed on to you.
  • Educate yourself. When you know which fruits and vegetables have the most chemical residue (and which have the least) you can choose to buy certain things organic (or from local farmers who do not use chemicals), and others conventionally grown.

Eating well on the cheap tip #1: Shop wisely

The conventional grocery store is not the only place to buy food. Many other venues may offer a significantly cheaper way to purchase food. Search out different types of stores and markets in your area and compare prices. It can save you a lot of money.

  • Discount stores. Warehouse or club stores like Costco and Sam’s offer great bargains. Just be sure to only purchase what you will use. Seasonal produce is often cheaper at these stores, as are foods such as boneless, skinless chicken breasts and reduced-fat cheese. Due to the very large portions you will need to carefully plan how you will use all of the food to avoid waste. It can be helpful to freeze some products in smaller, more manageable portion sizes.
  • Search out Farmers’ Markets. Many cities, as well as small towns, host weekly Farmers’ Markets. Local farmers bring their wares to specific locations, typically open-air street markets, and sell fresh food directly to you, often for less than you’d pay in the grocery store or supermarket. If you go towards the end of the market, some venders may sell their remaining perishable items at a discount. Bonus: you are supporting your local economy, the environment, and it’s a great opportunity to socialize and get to know like-minded people in your neighborhood who might want to join a CSA (community supported agriculture) group or start a buying club with you.
  • Ethnic markets and corner stores are worth looking into. Many of them feature an impressive, affordable selection of fruits and vegetables, as well as some other products.
  • Purchase generic/store brands. When you shop at conventional grocery stores, compare the unit prices on items. Often the store brand or generic brand will be cheaper than the name brand for the same quality product. Also, join the savings clubs to save some additional money.

Eating well on the cheap tip #2: Find cheaper protein options

One of most effective ways to save money on food is to learn how to purchase protein in the most affordable way.

Protein: how to save money and have high quality protein in your diet

Protein is a vital part of a healthy diet. Whether it is from meat or vegetarian sources, our body relies on protein for many of its functions. As we know, meat can be quite expensive. However, many of us in Western countries consume more animal protein than we need so by making a few adjustments to our diets we can save money AND still have plenty of protein in our diet.

  • Purchase less expensive cuts of meat and practice portion control. Not only do you save money on the cut of meat, but you can also stretch the meat for more meals when you make tasty things such as casseroles, sauces, soups, stews, and stir-fries. It is easy to add extra vegetables, beans, and whole grains to create delicious, hearty, and filling meals.
  • Experiment with vegetarian sources of protein. Veggie proteins, such as beans, are quite inexpensive, highly nutritious, easy to prepare, and taste great. Stock up on dried and/or canned beans and lentils. You’ll not only save money, but calories too. Other great sources of less expensive, high quality protein are nuts and seeds, as well as eggs. Try going meatless once a week: e.g. “Meatless Mondays.”
  • Canned fish and chicken are a great option for things like sandwiches, enchiladas, casseroles, and salads. These items last for a long time on the shelf so can be bought well ahead of time.

Eating well on the cheap tip #3: Buy in bulk

Doing things in bulk saves time and money. Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper. There are many items that can be bought in bulk – grains, dairy products, and meat, for example. You can freeze perishable items, such as meat, milk, and bread, in smaller portions to use as they are needed. It is always a good idea to buy non-perishable items, such as dried beans, grains, and canned foods, in bulk.

  • Shop for produce in season and buy by the bag. When produce is in season it is at its cheapest, as well as its best flavor and nutritional value. It’s cheaper to purchase fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, and onions by the bag, not by the piece. You will fill more lunch bags and cover more meals.
  • Check the freezer aisle. Look for the largest packages of vegetables in the frozen foods section. These are great for stir-fries and soups. Frozen and fresh veggies are equally nutritious, still taste good, and often the largest frozen bags will offer the best value.
  • Buy all your grains in bulk (including cereals) and store them in airtight containers. Examples are whole grain brown rice, millet, barley, and rolled oats. Brown Rice can be a little more expensive than white rice, but the higher nutritional value is well worth it. Whole grains are an excellent source of nutrients, including protein.
  • Bulk protein comes in many forms. Meat is often sold in larger packages/portions at a lower price. Split packages up into meal-size portions and freeze for later use. For example, you can buy a whole chicken and have the butcher cut it up for you. Dried legumes (beans) and peas can easily be bought in bulk packages or bulk bins at grocery stores. Canned beans can be bought in flats at warehouse stores. Also look for two-for-one specials on dairy products, which you can store by freezing.

Eating well on the cheap tip #4: Stretch your money when you cook

Preparing large portions of food to use over multiple meals saves time and energy. When cooking, it’s also important to think about how to incorporate leftovers into new meals. Finally, presentation has a big effect on the appeal of a meal, so putting a little effort into the way a meal looks can make a huge difference.

Save money by cooking in bulk

It can be a good idea to pick one or two days a week to cook meals that can be eaten on multiple days. Some easy ideas for cooking in bulk:

  • Cook once and eat multiple times. Cook a large meal at the beginning of the week. It is easy to double a recipe so that you have extra to use later in the week for quick lunches or dinners when you don’t feel like cooking. You can also freeze half for another day. Add a green salad or other side dish and you have a delicious, easy meal.
  • One-pot dishes, such as soups, stews, or casseroles, are especially good because they generally save preparation time, money, and dishwashing. Plus they make great leftovers. You can even cook one pot of oatmeal and heat up a serving size each morning. Rolled or steel cut oats are nutritious, very inexpensive, and are easily varied by adding seasonal fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds to create a wonderful breakfast. This is both cheaper and more nutritious than dry cereal or flavored packets of instant oatmeal.

Make new meals from previous ones

Another key to saving money on food is to make sure you are not wasting anything. All leftovers can be used for another meal. Once you have a few easy recipes to use for leftovers, they can often become some of the yummiest meals of the week. Some ideas:

  • Soups, stews, or stir-fries: These meals are ideal for using leftovers. Create a base with broth or a sauce, or by sautéing onion or garlic, then add any leftovers you have, such as whole grains, veggies, and meat. A small amount of meat is perfect to add flavor and substance, but be sure to cut it into small pieces so it goes further. You can also be very creative with herbs and spices to create unique flavors. With any recipe, make sure you reheat all leftovers thoroughly.
  • Everything burritos: Most leftovers make very tasty burritos. Simply put everything into a tortilla shell (try to get whole grain) with a little low-fat cheese and enjoy. For example, cut up leftover meat into small pieces, add a can of beans and  any leftover grains and veggies.
  • Experiment with combinations: You may be surprised how many foods with different flavors go well together. For example, try making a large green salad and adding cooked whole grains and veggies on the top, as well as pieces of meat from another meal. Add your favorite healthy dressing and you have a wonderful new dish.

Food presentation: Make meals look festive and inviting

Remember that presentation makes a huge difference in the appeal of a meal. Eating on a budget can still be elegant, romantic, fun, and of course tasty. Some easy ways to spice up the table:

  • Colorful meals: Using small amounts of contrasting colors can be pleasing on the eye. Add some bright green herbs or some yellow frozen corn to a dish of black beans or lentils, for example, and save some to sprinkle on top for a garnish. Use carrots, red tomatoes, or red and yellow peppers to brighten a green leafy salad.
  • Inviting table setting: There are many creative ways to set your table so that it is inviting and beautiful. Place a candle or some fresh flowers in the center of the table. Use a colorful tablecloth or place mats. Fold colorful napkins at each place setting.
  • Involve the kids: Invite children to set the table. Let them decorate it in their own unique way.

Eating well on the cheap tip #5: Dessert can be affordable, healthy, and delicious

Dessert can be affordable, healthy, and deliciousCutting out sugary junk food does not mean that you have to cut out all desserts. We all enjoy sweet treats, so it is important to know how to include scrumptious, healthy, and affordable desserts in your menu. Instead of expensive, processed desserts packed with sugar, such as cakes, cookies, pastries, and muffins, try ending a meal with delicious fresh fruit or by making your own healthier and more affordable desserts.

  • Popsicles. Freeze your own 100% fruit juice popsicles. If you don’t have a Popsicle tray you can use an ice-cube tray and freeze with small plastic spoons as handles.
  • Home baked items. Oatmeal cookies with rolled oats (whole grains) are a good example of a healthier, home baked dessert. Try reducing the amount of sugar any recipe calls for—many desserts taste just as good with less sugar.
  • Yogurt. Buy a large container of plain yogurt and make each serving unique by adding a little sweetener such as honey or seasonal fruit. You can even make your own frozen yogurt, too.
  • Frozen treats such as fruit, yogurt, and smoothies. Try freezing grapes or berries or cutting bananas or peaches into pieces and then freezing. For an amazing dessert pour a little dark chocolate sauce over the frozen fruit.
  • Chocolate. Many of us have chocolate cravings. Dark chocolate is actually quite high in anti-oxidants so enjoy the occasional square of dark chocolate (70% or higher is best) as a wonderful treat.

More help for eating well

Resources and references

Cheap healthy foods

Meal Planning: Healthy Eating On A Budget – This article has useful tips on budget food shopping. (The Diet Channel)

Eat Like A King On A Budget: A Healthy Diet Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive – This article gives straightforward tips on healthy eating on a budget. (The Diet Channel)

Resources for healthy and alternative shopping in the U.S.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce – Helpful chart ranking the 12 fruits and vegetables that are highest and lowest in pesticide residue, including a downloadable wallet-size shopping guide or smartphone app. (Foodnews.org)

Community Supported Agriculture Farms Database – A searchable database of CSA farms by state. (Alternative Farming Systems Information Center/USDA)

Local Harvest: Real Food, Real Farmers, Real Community – A great resource for finding local growers, farmer’s markets, and CSAs in your area.

Coop Directory Service: Find A Natural Food Coop Near You – Searchable database of food cooperative distributors and information on how to start a buying club. (Coop Directory)

Eat Well Guide – Find local, organic, sustainable food from farms, markets, restaurants and more in the U.S. and Canada. (Eat Well Guide)

Resources for healthy and alternative shopping internationally

Local Food Directory (UK) – Find local farmer’s markets and farm shops in the UK. (LocalFoods.org.uk)

Australian Farmers’ Markets Directory – Find local farmers’ markets in Australia. (AFMA)

Farmers’ Markets Canada – Find farmers’ markets in your region of Canada. (Farmers’ Markets Canada)

The role of sugar and salt in a cheap, healthy diet

Sodium Content of Your Food – How sodium affects your body and how to cut down on dietary sodium. Included tips on reading nutrition labels, and suggestions for cooking and shopping. (University of Maine – PDF)

Sugar Stacks – Photos showing the amount of sugar in different foods. (Sugar Stacks)

The Dangers of Sugar and Salt – Article detailing evidence that too much of these ingredients can harm health. (Harvard School of Public Health)

Facts on Sugar and Salt – Includes how to interpret food labels. (Harvard School of Public Health)

Authors: Maya W. Paul, Robert Segal, M.A., and Melinda Smith, M.A. Last updated: February 2015.