How To Avoid Food Waste

How To Avoid Food Waste

Food waste is a problem that affects our environment and economy. It includes food that’s thrown away or gone off before it’s eaten. Wasting food at home costs money, so we’ve put together some tips to help you avoid it.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted globally. 

Food waste has many negative impacts on our environment, including increased greenhouse gas emissions from rotting food in landfills, wasted water and energy resources, and biodiversity loss. Food waste also has economic impacts, as the cost of producing, transporting, and disposing of never eaten food is high.

Fortunately, there are many simple steps that you can take to reduce food waste and contribute to a more sustainable food system. 

Here are some tips to help you avoid food waste.

Plan Meals and Make a Grocery List

Before heading to the shops, plan your weekly meals and list the ingredients. This can help you avoid buying too much food or items you don’t need.

  • Keep track of what you have: Before planning your meals and making your grocery list, stock what you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This can help you avoid buying duplicates of items you already have and help you plan meals that incorporate things you need to use up.
  • Plan your meals for the week: Consider what meals you want to make for the upcoming week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Aim for a variety of meals that include different food groups and flavours.
  • Make a list of ingredients: Once you plan your meals, list the ingredients for each meal. This can help you avoid buying items you don’t need and ensure that you have everything you need to make your meals.
  • Stick to your list: When shopping, stick to your created list. Only impulse purchases and buying items on your list if they are essential.
  • Buy in bulk: Consider buying non-perishable items, such as grains, nuts, and dried fruit, in bulk. This can save you money and reduce packaging waste.
  • Consider foods that are in season: When planning your meals, consider using seasonal produce. Seasonal produce is often less expensive and has a lower environmental impact than out-of-season produce.

Planning your meals and creating a grocery list can reduce food waste, save money, and ensure you have everything you need to make healthy, delicious meals.

Buy Only What You Need

When shopping, stick to buying only the quantities you need for your meals.

  • Check expiration dates: When buying perishable items, check the expiration dates to ensure that you have enough time to use them before they spoil.
  • Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables frequently: Fresh produce has a limited shelf life. Consider shopping for fruits and vegetables more regularly and in smaller quantities to ensure they are fresh and won’t spoil before you can use them. Speak to a nutrition expert about the best fresh produce to add to your diet. 
  • Shop with a meal plan in mind: When planning your meals for the week, consider the ingredients you need and buy only those items. This can help you avoid buying items that you don’t need and ensure that you have everything you need for your meals.

Store Food Properly

Proper storage can help prevent food from spoiling before it can be eaten. 

This is how to store food properly:

  • Keep perishable items refrigerated: Perishable items such as meat, dairy, and fresh produce should be refrigerated as soon as possible to prevent spoilage. Use the coldest part of your fridge for items that need to be kept at lower temperatures, such as meat and dairy.
  • Use airtight containers: Airtight containers can help keep food fresh by preventing exposure to air, moisture, and bacteria. Use containers with tight-fitting lids to store leftovers, cut fruits and vegetables, and other items.
  • Freeze food for long-term storage: Freezing can extend the shelf life of many foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Use freezer-safe containers or freezer bags and label them with the date of freezing to keep track of how long items have been frozen.
  • Keep dry goods in a cool, dry place: Items such as flour, rice, and cereal should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and heat. Use airtight containers to prevent pests and moisture from getting in.
  • Store fruits and vegetables properly: Different fruits and vegetables have different storage requirements. Some should be stored in the fridge, while others at room temperature. Consider using produce storage bags or containers to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer.
  • Rotate your food: To avoid food waste, use the “first in, first out” method. Use the oldest items in your fridge and pantry first and move newer items to the back. This can help ensure that items don’t expire before you can use them.

Use Leftovers

Leftovers can be used in many ways, such as in sandwiches, soups, or stir-fries. You can also freeze leftovers for later use.

Leftovers are a great way to reduce food waste and save money on groceries. Here are some tips for using leftovers:

  • Plan meals around leftovers: When planning your meals for the week, consider how you can incorporate leftovers into your meals. For example, you can use leftover roasted vegetables in a stir-fry or add leftover chicken to a salad.
  • Freeze leftovers: If you have too many leftovers to use immediately, consider freezing them for later. Use freezer-safe containers or bags, and label them with the date of freezing to keep track of how long items have been frozen.
  • Repurpose leftovers: Leftovers can be repurposed into new meals or snacks. For example, you can use leftover rice to make fried rice or use leftover cooked vegetables to make a veggie toasted sandwich.
  • Make soup or stew: Leftover meat, vegetables, and grains can be used to make a hearty soup or stew. Combine the ingredients in a pot with some broth and seasonings and let simmer for a delicious and easy meal.
  • Pack leftovers for lunch: Take your leftovers to work or school for an easy and cost-effective lunch. Use a microwave-safe container to keep your food warm.

If you have a garden, you can also start composting. If you have access to a compost bin or pile, composting your food waste can help reduce methane emissions from landfills and provide nutrients for your garden.

If you have excess food that you won’t be able to eat before it spoils, consider donating it to a food bank or other charity that can use it to feed those in need.

We can help create a more sustainable food system and reduce our environmental impact by taking these simple steps to reduce food waste.

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