Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients live on a fixed income which at times make necessary medications prohibitively expensive. The Gazette News reported that the financial burden is forcing some Dialysis patients on fixed incomes to "choose between food, medication and their Dialysis Sessions." Well, Food-Spending as a percentage of the overall budget is the third-largest expense for a typical household. Yet, according to a National Resources Defense Council report, the average American household tosses about 25 percent of food and beverages purchased.
Let's put this into real numbers: The typical American family of four ends up spilling, spoiling or discarding up to 1,160 pounds of food annually which accounts for approximately $1,365 to $2,275 in wasted food. If Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients could retain even a fraction of the wasted money it would go a very long way to afford various necessities, limit financial burdens, and improve their lives. The following are the best ways to cut back on food waste while saving money:
PACKAGE EXPIRATIONS: Many may be surprised to learn that package expirations often have nothing to do with food safety. For instance, "Use By Date" is usually used to convey quality over safety. The expiration date is a better guide. After a Use By Date has past, the best test is to smell and examine the item. Only discard products with odd odors, flavors or appearance.
WRITE OUT YOUR MEALS: Detailed meal planning can be difficult for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients. The last thing most patients want to think about is cooking in the hot kitchen after a long day. Hence, on your way home or during the middle of the day, write down what you would like to prepare for dinner. Making a plan in advance to cooking may seem like an unnecessary restriction, but that way Dialysis patients will not waste food at home.
All you need to do is write out your meals. It’s not always a fun process, but it’s hard to use up what you buy between shopping trips without some kind of organization
GROCERY LIST: Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients must understand that the rules of shopping aren’t the same for buying clothing and buying food. For instance, "buying in bulk to get the lowest-per-unit price is not always the best route," said U.S. News & Report. Buying in bulk might give you the best unit price, but you may be spending more money overall, if you are throwing a good portion of that bulk purchase in the trash every week because it spoils.
STORAGE: "Not only is organization useful in making purchases, but it is also useful in how you store your food purchases," said U.S. News & Report. Money is easily wasted when we procrastinate putting bulk meat in the freezer, or items are lost in massive unorganized pantries, right? Therefore, account for storage when you are purchasing food and put every item in its place the day you buy it. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the pantry before writing up your grocery list. This helps minimize situations where you are buying food you already have.
RECIPE SELECTION: Choosing good recipes from the KidneyBuzz.com Impact Meals section as well as other resources is a great idea. If you know how much leftovers come from various meals you cook, you can better plan on how to use them. Finding larger recipes that meet the Renal and Diabetic Diets can help Chronic Kidney Disease patients in stretching leftovers to the next day.
Recommended Reading: New Budgeting Strategies to effectively manage your Dialysis Lifestyle
The bottom line is that a little bit of effort in minimizing waste could have big implications in reducing a Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient's budget and improving their quality of life. For more information on product dating, click here to visit the "Keep It or Toss It" database for ideal storage times for many foods.
Recommended Reading: Budget-Friendly Hearty Cabbage Soup
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