Did you know? It’s estimated that 40% of all food produced in the world is wasted. That equates to $1 trillion worth of food every year. We waste so much money, not to mention resources, when it comes to our food production. However, there are a lot of ways you can reduce your own personal contribution by following these tips!
1. Plan Your Meals
It’s always a good idea to have a list to stick to when you’re shopping. It’s really important to plan your weekly dinners, so you know the recipes you’re going to use and the ingredients you’re going to need. Checking out supermarket offers and having everything to hand before heading out of the door, we’ll all save time and money in our kitchens. You’ll also be less likely to throw things out that you bought on a whim and didn’t end up using before the due date.
2. Cook the Right Serving Amounts
If you’re cooking for two, consider cutting the recipe in half to avoid wasting your time with leftovers. Alternatively, plan ahead and save & freeze those left overs for another dinner on another day! This is especially convenient when you have a busy day coming up and little time to cook.
3. Freeze Leftovers
A freezer is a great way to save all the healthy stuff you get from farmers’ markets or your friend’s garden. You can use it for meal prep, stews, and even making soup at home! If you’ve made extra portions from dinners, as mentioned previously, freeze them for use another day.
4. Use the Oldest First
As you put food away, make sure to use the oldest items first before using the new ones. For shelf-stable foods like mayonnaise that are not refrigerated until opening them, keep out of the fridge and consume within the time permitted on the label!
5. Have a Leftover Day
The idea of a leftovers night is genius. There are so many tasty dishes that you can enjoy even just with what’s leftover from the week before, and cooking all those delicious meals at once will give you more time to spend on other things!
6. Conduct A Regular Inventory
You’ll save money and time by making a list of your favourite dishes. Noting what ingredients are needed for each dish. Next, go through the refrigerator or pantry so you don’t miss anything!
Before shopping today it might be good to take inventory of all that’s in your fridge/pantry. That way, if something is missing from this week’s meal plan, you can quickly grab them while grocery shopping instead of forgetting about it at home!
7. Use Scraps Wisely
A good way to reduce your waste is by composting food scraps. If you do not have a backyard, there are still options for reducing the amount of trash that goes into landfills like making broth with your leftover vegetable scraps or using it as fertilizer
There are lots of options such as turning them into compost and using them as fertilizer. A great start on leaving less garbage at home would be recycling an old pot or bucket so you could use this instead of throwing out aluminium foil, plastic wrap, paper towels, etc when preparing meals.
8. Learn Proper Storage Techniques
There is a right way and a wrong place to store each item that you purchase. Get the most use out of what you buy by being informed about how your items should be stored correctly from day one so they don’t get ruined before their time!
9. Preserve Your Own
You might think that cabbage is only for salads. But have you tried making it into sauerkraut? It is a great way to preserve and make the most of vegetables before they expire! You can preserve, can, or pickle lots of different foods to extend their shelf life and make new and interesting dishes with them.
10. Eat Expired Food
It’s not uncommon for fresh food to be good well past the date it was made. A lot of people don’t know this, but most expiration dates are more about when stores need to sell by than any sort of safety warning.
Many foods indeed have an “expiration” or a “sell-by” date on their packaging and cans; however, these labels refer specifically to retailers who must remove them from shelves if they remain unsold after some pre-arranged amount of time has passed. What few realise is, that just because something expires doesn’t mean you should throw out your groceries! Most canned goods will keep safely in storage at cool temperatures until as long as 7 days after their original sale day. Always consume food by the ‘use by’ date though.
Managing food waste
With a little planning and thought, you can eliminate most food waste. If somehow you end up with extras due to too many offers like ‘3 for 2’ or something else, then just donate it!