10 Ways to Avoid Wastage of Food – How To Waste Less Food and Money in Your Home
Billions of dollars are wasted every year due to people throwing away food. This is something that we all do on a daily basis without even really realizing it unfortunately. In a world where people are starving for food, it hardly seems just.
The average size family has been reported to throw a few thousand dollars of food away each year. That adds up to around $165.00 a month!
Not only does wasting food have social, economical and environmental consequences, it also strikes hard at just about every family’s budget.
Here are a 10 ways that can help families waste less food. And by wasting less, we are in turn doing more for ourselves and our planet.
1 – Buy Less in Bulk, Shop As Needed
As consumers, we have a tendency to buy in bulk. By doing this, we convince ourselves we are saving money and time. However, the more you buy, the more likely one is to waste. Instead, buy items on a more frequent basis, and purchase items you will use in the near future.
Also, buying in bulk may serve you well when purchasing household items such as toilet paper. However, buying items in bulk such as fresh produce or items that may expire quickly may be not such a good idea. Although it may seem like a good idea, you really should ask yourself if you can really eat that amount of food in that time.
We all have heard over and over, shop only once for your weekly groceries. While this is good in theory, it is definitely more practical to shop a few times a week to avoid any food waste.
2 – Meal Plans and Grocery Lists
Thanks to the Internet, and us here at DinnerPlanner.com, there are meal plans created that are perfect for the busy Mom and family. Shopping with a list has been proven to help you keep track of food you really need, vs food you may wish to impulsively buy, and this provides a huge cost saving.
A shopping list will also keep you focused on the items you have written down, and less likely to purchase items on a whim. And thus less like to throw food away.
When your meals are carefully planned, and you shop for only what you need, food waste is decreased considerably.
3 – Learn how to Store Your Food Properly
This is such an important aspect of food waste. Storing food properly is one of the most important things you can do to keep foods fresher longer and ready to eat.
Invest in a good set of food storage containers. The new glass “snap lock” containers are awesome and will keep food fresher longer.
Keep rice and noodles in glass containers to help keep them fresher longer. Arrange them on selves and make them pretty!
What foods to keep on your kitchen counter – avocados, bananas, tomatoes, whole watermelon, peaches and nectarines.
What foods to refrigerate – apples, broccoli, cucumbers, cantaloupe, cauliflower, plums and lettuce
4 – Organize your Refrigerator
Cleaning and organizing a refrigerator is something that most household rarely do, if it is done at all. Truth is, how many times have you looked all the way in the back of the fridge, pulled out an item and it was expired you forgot you even purchased it? A useful tip when you unpack groceries, have the newest items in the back, and move those in the back to the front. That way the old foods are consumed prior to expiration date.
Separate the Spoilers!
Ever hear of the saying, “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch?” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to apples, potatoes, onions, berries, etc. All of the food can be spoiled and thus must be tossed if the culprit is not removed immediately. When purchasing food that might fall under this category, check frequently, even before you place the items away, that they are all unspoiled.
Tricks of the Trade
The following are tricks that will help items last longer, thus lessening the need to buy more.
Onions: By hanging onions individually in pantyhose, they will last for over seven months.
Scallions: Keeping them in a jar filled with water standing upright will extend their longevity.
Bananas: Though bananas tend to be bought in bunch, separating them will double their counter life.
Bread: A few tricks, sticking a celery stalk in the bread loaf will extend the life of the bread. Also, because bread can tend to mold quickly, freezing slices of bread is a great way to extend their shelf life. Actually, that goes for most foods. Very few things cannot be frozen. Which leads us to..
5 – Just Freeze It
There really is not expiration date on frozen foods. And the great thing about freezing is that they maintain all the same nutrition value as in there fresh state.
Next time you pick up canned good, remember that the only difference in longevity is that the cans contains preservatives to keep them from expiring, while frozen foods do not. So don’t be scared to freeze your food. You’ll be glad you did.
6 – Get Creative and Repurpose
We tend to cut off and discard various parts of foods without even considering if they might serve another purpose. For example, broccoli stems can be made into a homemade pesto, corn on the cob can make a delicious flavored soup, and carrot greens can turn into a salad. No need to stop there… with any part of the vegetable you are tempted to discard, use them instead and create vegetable stock.
Remember, vegetables can be frozen, so if you can’t do it right away, you can easily save it for another time. Chop up those vegetables and throw them in a freezer bag to use later!
7 – Try a Meal Delivery Service
You see them everywhere! A box of food is delivered to your front door with the exact amount of food needed to prepare each dinner. This could save smaller families significantly in money and food waste if used as planned.
Learn small ways to stretch this food even further and save even more money.
8 – Remember to Share
Ordered a bit too much at the restaurant? Eyes bigger than your plate when you made your lavish dinner spread? Sharing leftovers or what’s left on your plate is a great way to prevent waste.
If you are continuously throwing away good food, find someone in your neighborhood that would greatly benefit from a few home cooked meals.
Have a garden? Don’t give away the food at the end of the season. Find people to share with the entire season!
Sharing doesn’t go for only humans, extend the invitations to animals as well.
However, before you place that plate in front of your pet, make sure that is is safe for consumption. While many foods pass the test to to feed your pet, some are not, so make sure to check before going so.
9 – Lets Get Composting
The number one material shipped off to land fills? That’s right. Food waste scraps. The scraps are then turning into greenhouse gases, which are harmful to our environment. Composting, which involves combining waste items so they decompose can be done anywhere. It is beneficial because when materials are mixed together, nutrients in the soil will begin to naturally breakdown the waste and turn it into vitamin-rich material that aids the growth of plants.
When we compost, we are not only helping nature and plants by aiding in their growth, but we are also helping in keeping these scraps far away from landfills. Win win!
10 – Use it or Lose It
Check expiration dates on your food often. If you buy fresh foods such as vegetables, leave them where you can see them so you know to use them. If you buy fresh asparagus, it needs to be eaten that day or the next day. If you know tomorrow will be a busy day then cook it and store it today for tomorrow! Plan ahead and most of your food will not be wasted.
Stop The Waste!
As you can see there are many ways to cut down on food waste. You’ll also see that by following some of these suggestions you will be saving money and who doesn’t want that.
So next time you are shopping think twice before you start buying too much! Less food wasted equals more money in your pocket!