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5 tips to reducing Food Waste

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How reducing food waste ?

I don’t know about you, but I hate wasting food. Maybe it’s because my mom ingrained in me that there’s starving people all around the world growing up, or perhaps it’s because I equate throwing away food with throwing away money, but over the years I’ve cultivated some ways to avoid wasting food and money.

Five Ways to Avoid Food Waste

 

1) Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

I think this is pretty common, but I know when I’m hungry and then go to the grocery store, everything looks more delicious than usual and I end up buying more. Not only am I more likely to buy items that aren’t healthy, but I’m also wasting money since I’m buying more than I need and the things I buy might go to waste. To combat this, I usually have a granola bar or almonds in my purse, and usually eat a handful or couple of bites before going shopping. It’s really helped satiate me while I’m in the store so I stick to my shopping list more and only buy things I need.

2) Use a tier-system in the refrigerator

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found moldy leftovers in the back of my fridge, which is not only gross but such a waste. To avoid this, I’ve used a tier-system in the fridge, where the first shelf are items I need to eat right away, the second shelf are items recently bought and should be consumed in a couple of weeks, and the bottom shelf are for bigger items like orange juice and milk, but are organized in a way that the items soon to expire are out in front. I also organize the crisper drawers, where the left crisper are produce I need to use right away, and the right crisper are items recently bought that could probably be kept for 1-2 weeks. Every week (usually after grocery shopping), I then rotate the items so that the items soon to spoil will go in the top shelf or left crisper. With this method, I get a birds-eye view on making use of the items soon to spoil since I’ve “trained” myself to first look at the top shelf or left crisper whenever I’m reaching for a snack or preparing dinner. It also helps with keeping the refrigerator clean from mold and organized so I’m constantly aware of the fridge inventory.

3) Consider buying frozen vegetables

One of the biggest victims of my food waste tend to be vegetables, since I often find myself getting dazzled when something is on sale and buy a couple of bunches of spinach or a few red bell peppers too many. To decrease vegetable waste, frozen vegetables are a healthy alternative since they not only have a longer shelf life, but the produce is usually frozen at the peak of its freshness so it preserves the nutrients. They work great in stews, pasta dishes, soups, and lasagna, and also a healthy addition to juices and smoothies.

4) When fruits or vegetables are going bad, bake away

There are times when a banana or apple is forgotten about, and instead of throwing away that blackened banana or soft apple, I usually bake it in sweet breads. Not only do you make use of something that might be too soft or sweet alone, but riper fruits tend to taste better in breads and make them more flavorful. I’ve also done the same thing with carrots and zucchini when they go a little too soft – with all the recipes available on the internet, there’s bound to be a recipe available for any fruit or vegetable that’s overreached its peak that you can bake.

5) Buy only what you need

This seems simple in theory, though might not be in practice. It’s been a few years in practice, but it’s really helped when I plan meals prior to going to the store, so I know exactly what to buy and at what amount. I also tend to buy staples that can make simple stir-fry dishes or that can be tossed into most recipes, like chicken, beef, beans, and rice. This way, I not only have some go-to recipes if I’m too busy to plan, but keeping things simple and basic help to avoid food waste since I have multiple uses for them.

What are some ways you do to avoid wasting food?

One comment

  1. Another source of food waste…. America’s 42 million home gardeners often harvest more than they can use. AmpleHarvest.org is the solution.

    AmpleHarvest.org enables growers to donate their excess food to a nearby food pantry in all 50 states. Visit http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/local to see how you can end food waste AND hunger in your community.

    More at http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/TED and http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/PBS

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