Do you grocery shop for your week's menu or always have everything on hand & just shop to replace items in your panty, fridge & freezer?
Following my mother's example, I always made out a weekly menu & purchased what was necessary for that week. In my 50's I remarried. New husband insists we have everything under the sun stored in the house. We shop to replace items that are runny low. It's just the 2 of us & I see a problem with his method. I am frequently throwing food away because of the expiration date. We've discussed it, but this is the only way he wants to do it.
I buy items for the freezer.
I take out my proteins in advance for the week. 2 or 3 nights of non meat, the rest meat proteins. A variety of chicken, pork, beef, seafood. I mix vegetables and cuisines as well.
Something different each night. The more varied, the better. Spicy beef enchilada, then chicken pot pie, then mushroom barley soup, then steak salad, then Seolleongtang, then eggplant parm, veggie lumpia, etc. no rhyme or reason...just interesting food.
I have every spice and ingredient known to man in my house...all cusines. I am more limited in protein (but use the freezer) and weekly shop for fresh vegetables. More variety using this method. Variety is important in my house.
I think after getting into a rhythm of weeknight dinners being half vegetables and the rest protein or grains, I'm able to look in the fridge and see what we have left and plan 2-3 nights of dinners ahead of time. That means we go out to a local market one weeknight to pick up misc. items I need for the meal, then on weekends we do our bulk buy with a general plan in mind. For example - steak on first night, then leftover steak salad for 1-2 nights. So we buy some steak and salad veggies.
When I pick something up to buy, I try to ask myself if I'm going to use it in the next week or two. If I don't have a solid plan in mind, I don't buy it.
That also helps us eat healthier since I'm not stocking up on stuff like canned soups or mac and cheese :)
For your situation i would first look through what needs to be used first and then make the menu for the week to be sure you are using any fresh food that will soon expire.
As previously mentioned canned foods are good for almost ever.
If he feels better and less anxious if there are 20cans of soup instead of 10, then i think you should just pick your battles and let him hoard soup cans.
There are certain staples that i keep on hand a replenish when low, which are probably different for you but maybe re-evaluate what those/how much you buy if you are not consuming them before they go bad
Which foods are expiring on you? Quite a few items don't need to be tossed because of the expiration date - that's just the sell-by date.
I keep eggs, buttermilk, yogurt well past their sell-by date. If your milk is expiring too soon, get lactose free milk instead - it has a really long shelf life.
the shelf-life on most canned goods is ... like... infinity. you definitely don't need to toss them, but you also cannot donate expired items.
i keep a certain set of staples, butter, eggs, oil, etc and replace as needed, but those never go bad on me. bacon, organic beef and chicken get bought at costco, portioned out and frozen. i keep a stash of certain kinds of frozen veg.
i buy fresh produce once or twice a week, if we are having seafood i buy and cook same day.
i am a very thrifty kitchen manager and have almost no waste.
it's shocking how much food gets thrown away in the western world.
I agree with every single point you made. Especially the expiration date stuff. And, yes, you can't donate expired items. They can't accept them.
I tend to buy produce for a particular meal and if I have more then I incorporate it into other meals. And I can make an omelette out of almost anything! See attached picture of a "faux-tata" I made from leftover salad :)
I also throw out very, very little.
@OP, do you both do the shopping and cooking? If not, then I'd say the cook makes the decisions. Good luck.
As we are only 2 people, I feel your pain! Whenever my mother visits, she fills the fridge with so much stuff and half of it goes to waste...I can't stand it.
Once a week I buy meats, grains, breads, cheese, condiments, etc from the grocery store...and every few days I pick up produce as needed. I'm lucky because there is a great fruit/veggie store next to my office that makes it easy.
When we do it this way, it's very rare that food goes to waste.
Maybe limit your perishables? If you keep frozen and pantry items in stock maybe he'll be happy :)
We shop for enough for 2 weeks, but buy produce every week. I just buy the usual stuff and cook whatever I feel that day, sometimes I have a recipe in mind so I'll add those ingredients to the list. Otherwise my shopping list is pretty much the same every time.
I don't even know where to start... here's a small example. He wants multiple (5 or 6 of cans each) of every variety & brand of soup. I just had to throw away a bunch of those cans. We rarely eat soup. I guess I am just being curious about how everyone does their food shopping, and not looking for a solution to the grocery store my kitchen has become.
I usually make up my daily meals every day and don't have a menu for a length of time, say, ever week. I will pre plan for special occasions. My kitchens stays stocked with the essentials and are replaced as needed. I stockpile other items as they go on sale and keep two freezers. There is not much I randomly shop for. This works for me and I don't throw away much.