Every year one third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Most of this is from rich, industrialized countries. We’ve all done it. We buy pre-cut salads and vegetables with the intention of eating healthier, and when we go to use them realize they’ve turned into a slimy mush. Or we pour milk into our coffee and watch as the chunks curdle in our cup.
But with more conscious planning, buying and storage habits you can cut down on your household food waste. You’ll not only save yourself money, you’ll be helping save the planet too.
Plan ahead and shop wisely
Before you head off to the grocery store sit down and plan your meals for the days or week ahead. Don’t forget about snacks as well. Check your fridge and cupboards for what you have and what you’re running low on. Be realistic about how much food you actually need.
When you get to the store only buy what’s on your list and look for products with the longest “use by” dates. Avoid “buy one, get one free” offers, unless you know you know for sure you’ll be able to use these items before they go off. Make smaller, more frequent trips to the store if you find yourself throwing out food by the end of the week.
Store foods properly
Much of the food that’s wasted is due to improper storage. Check out these helpful tips on how to store food in the refrigerator to keep it fresher longer. This includes keeping your fridge at the optimal temperature of at or below 40F (4C).
Plan meals around your groceries' use by dates. Many products can be frozen before they go off and used at a later date including soups, milk, bread and even fruits and vegetables. There are also products that you can use past their expiry date, such as hard cheeses and eggs.
Leftovers save you both time and money. Just make sure if you save leftovers you actually get around to eating them.
De-clutter your fridge and pantry
If you can’t see it or find it, you aren’t likely to eat it. Don’t overstock and keep your refrigerator and cupboards organized so that everything is clearly visible. Try arranging groceries in a "first in, first out" order so you use up older products first.
Be creative with what you've got
Try to come up with interesting dishes from the collection of food in your fridge. Not sure what to do with some artichokes and half a package of bacon? Just type in your ingredients on Supercook and you’ll get recipe ideas for whatever you’ve got on hand.
Compost what you can’t eat
Throw peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. into a compost bin rather than the garbage. You’ll keep more food out of the landfill and have some lovely fertilizer for your garden when you’re done. Don’t have a garden? Find out if your recycling centre or collection service takes food waste for composting.
Want to know more about reducing food waste? Go to Love Food Hate Waste for recipes and more.