There's more to this challenge, but this first part touches on one of my favorite things: the crock pot."This week, opt for products which come with no unnecessary additions. For example, rather than buy processed foods (like canned soup) which contain added salt, preservatives, etc., make your own using whole foods. ..."
I have sat a crock pot on my counter for ages. It is an easy way to convert food waste into food. Whenever I have a bone - chicken, beef, whatever - it goes into a baggie in the freezer. About once a week, I empty the baggie into the crockpot with a little water, and start it up. Within an hour, the comforting smell of homemade broth begins to waft. While hours pass on the clock as the cooking goes on, my actual work time is perhaps a minute, plus another minute extracting the bones when I'm done.
But that's just the beginning! At some point, I'll usually drop in some beans; these cost very little money and when well cooked add a lot of substance to the soup. When they're almost ready, in goes all the veggie tag-ends: celery bits, withered carrots, whatever I bought last week and didn't quite finish off. They still have some nutrition - fiber at least - and I like the somewhat random character of the resulting soup.
Finishing it off I might add some more intentional ingredients - perhaps a couple of eggs to make eggdrop.
Did you notice that throughout this entire process, there's an absolute minimum of processing and no preservatives?
The one downside to all this is that the result tastes so much like real food that canned soup just doesn't cut it anymore. Even restaurant soups taste thin and oversalted. If you are not prepared to spoil yourself while saving money and cutting waste, stay away from your crockpot!