9 Simple Steps to End Food Waste
Hey all! I thought I would do a follow-up post about food waste if you haven't read my last blog post about Food Waste explaining why and how food waste is an issue I strongly encourage you to click the link and give it a quick read! That aside here are my top nine simple tips I use to reduce food waste in my home:
Figure out what it is you want to eat this week, meal planning can help stop impulse buys from the store (not to mention can keep you on track for healthy eating). Buying items you know you will use in meals in addition to being able to use leftover ingredients in other recipes.
If you are able, buy only the amount that you need for a recipe unless you know for sure that you can and will use it in another meal you can do this by shopping in the bulk section to get exact measurements on some ingredients. For example, if the recipe calls for two bananas and you don't just eat bananas by themselves, just buy two for what you are making.
Ugly produce refers to food that may be a little bruised, misshapen, or has minor blemishes that stores deem “ugly” and will throw away (Bonus: these are usually discounted as well!)
I can not express this enough! prep, prep, and you guessed it prep! I am the worst at this, guilty of going to the store, buying what I “need” and then never go through with making the meal! What a waste! To get better at this I now meal prep everything I possibly can after I unload my groceries. That's right, I shop and prepare it all the same day. I find that it is the only way I ensure that I will do it before any of the food goes bad, it also makes my week a lot smoother because I have all my food ready to go, just need to reheat.
I find that a good portion of my own food waste comes from not understanding the correct ways to store items so that they will keep fresh the longest. Find out what to keep on the counter, what to put in water in the fridge, where to put and how to wrap different foods.
Most of the time we don't eat leftover because we want something else, or we already ate that, or goodness knows what other excuses we make so we can justify ordering a pizza! I am just as guilty of this as the next person- I now, however, rotate leftovers. For example, if I have something for dinner I will likely eat it for lunch the next day rather than for dinner the next night. This works for me because I have to pack my lunch for University anyway and this makes it super convenient to just grab an already made meal. If you have a couple days worth of leftovers you can switch it up it feels like you are eating something new rather than just the same dinner two or three nights in a row! If you know that you just can not have another bowl of soup, offer it to a family member or friend and see if someone else wants it, that way it won't be wasted.
You read that correctly, just because something says it's expired does NOT mean that it is bad. The FDA does not require “use by” or “best by” dates, those are put on by the manufactures to “ensure maximum taste” and food can go bad way before the expiration date from things like improper storage temperature. So it’s best to use your sniffer and visual cues to judge whether something is still good or unsafe to consume. Got a little mold on your cheese or bread? Cut around it, it's still safe to eat (the un-moldy part)
Got cuttings from making a salad, extra herbs, or fruit rinds? Don’t let those go to waste! There are so many fun and interesting recipes that can use up food scraps, the internet is just bursting with inspirations; like using veggie scraps to make broth, freezing herbs in olive oil to add some flavor to a dish, so on and so forth! You can even garden with some veggie cuttings to sprout new food!
Composting food scraps are a fantastic way to help battle food waste, composting can be as big and as extravagant or as small and simple as you desire. The easiest way is through vermiculture (using worms like red wigglers to break down food into dirt) you can then use the compost to plant a garden- or as potting soil for a few house plants. Bins can be purchased online or made by drilling a few air holes in a bin with a lid.
Food waste is a BIG problem, but if we all take some easy steps to eliminate our own personal food waste we will save ourselves time, money, and important global resources. So give it a try and let us know what successes you have down in the comments below! As always best wishes!