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11 Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste to Save Money and the Environment
Life hack: Eat before you go shopping
Not only does reducing food waste benefit the environment, but it also has the potential to save you money. Discarding food means throwing away the money you worked hard to earn.
Roughly one-third of all food produced worldwide is either lost or wasted, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year, worth approximately US$1 trillion!
1. Eat before going shopping
Impulse buying can be one of the biggest unnecessary expenses when grocery shopping. To avoid this, make sure to shop on a full stomach. When you’re hungry, everything looks tempting, and you may end up buying things that you don’t need. But if you go grocery shopping after eating, you’ll be less likely to make those extra purchases, saving you money in the long run.
2. Store food properly
It can be heartbreaking to see fresh produce go bad within a few days of purchase. To prevent this from happening, make sure you store your fruits and vegetables in a cool, dry place. Dairy products and meat should always be kept in the fridge to ensure they stay fresh for longer. To avoid contamination, remember to separate raw and cooked foods and store cooked food above raw food in the fridge. By taking these simple steps and sealing foods in air-tight containers, you can significantly reduce your food waste.
3. Use up leftovers to make new recipes
If you’re like most people, you probably have leftovers in your fridge right now. Instead of letting them go to waste, try using them to create new and exciting meals. Maybe that leftover chicken can be turned into a delicious stir-fry or a hearty chicken salad. Why not whip up a pasta salad using the leftover pasta in your fridge, or throw together a bowl of flavorful fried rice using bits and bobs from your fridge? The possibilities are endless!
4. Use smaller plates
It’s possible that you aren’t aware, but using bigger plates can result in serving yourself more food than you actually need. This frequently leads to overindulging or discarding excess food. Using smaller plates, on the other hand, allows you to manage your portion sizes and minimize the quantity of food that ends up being wasted.
5. Buy imperfect produce
When considering purchasing fruits and vegetables, it’s important not to hastily judge them based on their appearance. Though imperfect produce may not be visually appealing, it is still entirely edible. Going for less aesthetically pleasing produce can help in minimizing food waste and may even be available at a discounted price in some stores. It’s essential to avoid buying damaged or spoiled produce, but don’t hesitate to purchase items that may seem slightly unconventional in appearance.
6. Cook in small portions
Cooking in small portions is a great way to reduce food waste. By cooking only what you need, you can avoid having leftovers that may go to waste. Additionally, cooking in small portions can also save you money, as you are only using the ingredients that you need.
7. Plan meals ahead of time and only buy the necessary ingredients
Planning meals ahead of time and making shopping lists is a game-changer. Not only does it save money, but it also ensures that you only buy what you need and avoid buying duplicate items. It’s a small change that can make a big impact on reducing food waste, and once it becomes a habit that you couldn’t imagine going without!
8. Use older food items before newer ones
If you want to prevent food waste at home, it’s essential to rotate your stock by using older food items first. When you’re grocery shopping, make sure to place the older items at the front of the fridge or pantry, so you’re more likely to reach for them first. This way, you’ll avoid letting food go bad, which can be both wasteful and costly. By rotating your stock regularly, you’ll also be able to keep track of what you have and what you need to buy, making your shopping trips more efficient and budget-friendly.
9. Avoid the temptation to stock up on “sale” items
While walking in the aisles of the grocery store, it’s common to be enticed by alluring sales and promotions. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to refrain from purchasing large quantities of food solely due to its reduced price. The value of a discounted item diminishes if it ultimately goes to waste. Rather, it’s advisable to buy only what you need, based on necessity rather than impulse. Giving in to the temptation of stocking up on bargain-priced items can result in avoidable waste and excessive spending.
10. Freeze your fruits
Freezing your fruits when they start to go bad is a smart way to turn them into a refreshing snack that won’t go to waste.
11. Educate yourself and others
Having a deeper understanding of food waste can help you comprehend why it’s problematic and the measures you can take to diminish it. There is an abundance of resources accessible to you to gain more knowledge about food waste. Insightful information on the causes, impact and effective strategies for reducing food waste can be obtained from various sources such as books, articles, and blogs.
By sharing this information on social media, and organizing seminars or events, you can raise awareness about the issue of food waste and motivate others to take action. Through educating yourself and others about the importance of reducing food waste, a culture of sustainability can be fostered, where waste reduction becomes a priority.
We all have a role to play in reducing food waste and contributing to a more sustainable future.