Nine tips for ending food waste
Many of us cringe at the amount of food we end up throwing away. Here are nine tips to help you stop wasting your groceries:
Put a mental price tag on the food you throw away.
Whenever you’re throwing away food, take note of the dollar value of what you’re wasting—it really adds up! Perhaps even write it down and tally it up at the end of each week. Putting a price tag on what you throw away will really motivate you to waste less.
Understand expiration dates.
“Sell by” and “use by” are just two of the many confusing terms companies use on their food labels. “Sell by” informs retailers when the product should be sold or removed from the shelves. “Use by” is the suggested date that you should use the product by—this date is usually the best one to follow.
Freeze EVERYTHING (almost).
A freezer is your best friend when it comes to reducing food waste. If something is getting close to its expiration date and it’s freezable (especially meats, fruits and certain vegetables), put them into a freezer bag and toss them into the freezer.
Here is a comprehensive list of foods that you can freeze (and foods that shouldn’t be frozen).
Don’t thaw meat or seafood until you’re ready to cook it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten some chicken or other meat out of the freezer on a Sunday night with the best intentions to use it in a recipe that week; then life gets busy, the recipe doesn’t get made, and I’m stuck tossing out thawed out meat that can’t be re-frozen.
Don’t over-fill the fridge.
Sometimes it’s inevitable that the fridge will get jam-packed, especially if you’re going to be entertaining or hosting guests. But whenever possible, try to keep your fridge clean and clutter-free so that you can easily see what’s in there and avoid having things get lost in the shuffle.
Most people tend to buy more food than they need. Though buying in bulk may be convenient, research has shown that this shopping method leads to more food waste. To avoid buying more food than you need, make frequent trips to the grocery store every few days rather than doing a bulk shopping trip once a week.
Store food correctly.
Improper storage leads to a massive amount of food waste. Many people are unsure how to store fruits and vegetables, which can lead to premature ripening and, eventually, rotten produce. Learn more about how to maximize your groceries. Also, did you know there’s a specific way to arrange your groceries in the refrigerator to maximize freshness? Take a look at the visual below.
Keep your fridge clutter-free.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” This rings especially true when it comes to food. Help avoid food spoilage by keeping your fridge organized so you can clearly see foods and know when they were purchased.
Although many people save excess food from large meals, it is often forgotten in the fridge, then tossed when it goes bad. Storing leftovers in a clear glass container, rather than in an opaque container, helps ensure you don’t forget the food.