It’s hard not to feel guilty when throwing out food. Whether it be moldy bread, or just a few bites on your plate that you just can’t seem to finish, it always feels like a waste of food and money. And while eliminating food waste in the household all together might seem impossible, we have 8 simple tips to help you greatly control, and reduce waste. Take a look below.
Make a List and a Plan
You’ve probably heard us say this before, but having a grocery list is probably the number one way to prevent food waste, and save money on your grocery shop. While having a list helps prevent buying excess or unnecessary amounts of food, going the extra mile to also have a plan is key. If you don’t have a solid plan, such as a recipe, or specific use for each item, the chances of that food going unused and eventually getting tossed are much higher. If we all stuck to our lists and plans perfectly, we likely wouldn’t need the rest of these tips. But, we know life doesn’t always go as planned, so read on.
Plan Take-out or Dine-out Nights in Advance
Sometimes when you’re roaming the grocery store, it’s easy to forget that you might not always be eating foods at home. Whether it be a special occasion dinner out, or a call to your local pizza place on an exceptionally busy evening, make sure to take into account the nights when a home cooked meal just isn’t an option and adjust your list accordingly.
Keep Your Fridge Tidy
If you can’t see it, you can’t eat it! How many times have you gone to clean out your fridge only to find a sad, wilted bag of spinach you never used squished in the back? Keep your fridge tidy so you can see everything when you open it. This makes it much easier to take inventory of what needs to be used up every time you open the fridge.
Practice Smart Storage
Make sure to keep leftovers, especially veggies, in airtight containers in the fridge. For pantry items, make sure foods like chips, crackers, and cereals are sealed with a bag clip, or placed in another container to prevent them from going stale. The smarter you store, the longer it lasts!
Get Friendly with Your Freezer
Your freezer is the best (and easiest!) preservation tool. If you’ve bought meat or fish that you don’t think you’ll be able to use by the expiration date, simply wrap it in an airtight plastic bag and freeze it. You can also take it one step further and add some butter and herbs or spices so it’s already marinated by the time you’re about to use it.
Save Soon-to-Expire Foods
If you’re keeping a nice tidy fridge, you’ll be keeping tabs on foods that are about to expire. Maybe that wilted spinach won’t taste that great in a salad, but would be perfectly fine in a soup. Most veggies and meats can be preserved via a soup or stew, and most soups or stews can be stored in the freezer. You can also make things like zucchini or banana bread, frittatas, and lasagna or pastas with leftover veggies. Again, more often than not, these last minute meals can also be stored in the freezer!
Serve Small Portions
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat small portions (dishing out seconds is okay!). But, serving small portions means you don’t have to worry about cleaning your plate, either by overeating or by dumping the food you don’t eat into the trash. It makes it easier to clean your plate and store leftovers that haven’t already been picked at. You can even try this when eating out at a restaurant: pack up half of your meal at the beginning, and take it home to be eaten for lunch or dinner the next day.
Keep a Waste Log
You probably already do this in your head, but when you clean out the fridge and cabinets, take note of what you’re throwing away, and look for patterns. If you always have moldy bread, maybe you need to buy less, or, store it in the freezer instead of the fridge.
Have you tried any of the tips above? If not, which one do you think you can get started with right away? Let us know in the comments below!