A few new habits will add up quick.
Food waste is a big issue many of us are unconsciously contributing to. The good news is, it’s not hard to drastically cut down on our food waste and by doing so we will also save time and money. 🍕+⌚+💸=👍
You can start right here, right now, with these simple tips:
Be More Conscious About What You Buy
- Don’t buy produce in bulk – Unless you are sure you’re going to be able to use it all, buying produce in bulk is a bad idea because it almost always perishing faster than you think – If you do a lot of your shopping at Costco or other bulk stores, make it a habit to swing by a smaller grocer on the way home. Even better, take a break from your busy life once a week to walk to farmers market and get higher quality, local produce.
- Don’t shop hungry – We tend to buy more than we need when we shop hungry because our eyes get big and everything looks appetizing. Simply eating before going to the store will help you make more rational purchasing decisions.
- Plan your meals better – When you know what you need to buy for your meals during the week you can get just the right ingredients and reduce the superfulous stuff.
- Make a list – Take an inventory of what you need at home so you know what to buy. When we wonder through the store without direction we buy things we don’t need and forget the things we do need. Make a list and stick to it. You’ll save time, money, and will reduce your food waste.
Reduce Your Food Waste At Home
- Take expiration dates with a grain of salt – Expiration dates are an estimation made by the producer, not a cold hard fact. They should be taken more as a recommendation. The only foods required by law to have expiration dates are baby formula, the rest are just added by producers to sell more good. For most foods the smell test is your best indicator – if it smells rotten don’t eat it, otherwise you’re probably safe. I’ve been trusting my nose for the last 10 years and have yet to get sick from eating spoiled food.
- Organize your refrigerator better – Finding old moldy leftovers in the back your fridge is the worst! Take the time every few days to bring the older food in your fridge to the front so you don’t forget about it. This is especially important when you bring new groceries home because new groceries often push everything else to the back. The way you store your food also has a big impact on how long it will last. Learn how to store your food the right way.
- Utilize your freezer – When you have perishable food you know you can’t eat, wrap it up and store it in the freezer before it goes bad. This is most often the case with produce, but I will also freeze bread, leftover pizza, etc. My mom will even freeze a gallon of milk from time to time. It’s important to properly prepare before you freeze. For example, fruit will freeze just fine, but don’t defrost a banana and expect it to turn out great. I like to chop up any fruits I freeze and use them in smoothies at a later time.
- Eat your leftovers – Taking your leftovers to work for lunch is a great practice that will save you time and money. I also recommend having a leftover night any time you start to get a build up and feel you need to take action. Some things like fish just don’t make good leftovers so keep that in mind when you’re at the store. It’s better to error on the side of too little rather than too much with most dishes.
- Start a compost – In terms of efficiency, composting is not nearly as good as reducing waste in the first place, because it only recovers about 1% of the energy used to create that food in the first place. I encourage composting, but it should be the last resort in your food waste reduction strategy. You can learn how to start a compost in about 10 minutes if you want to start today.
Support Movements To Reduce Food Waste
- Rob Greenfield – This grassroots activist is gaining fame for his anti food waste campaigns where he diverts discarded food from grocery stores to people in need. He regularly goes dumpster diving to recover perfectly good foods and raise awareness about the magnitude of waste. Watch his TedX on How To End The Food Waste Fiasco for his story and tips on reducing food waste.
- Demand grocery stores donate instead of dumping – #DonateNotDump and demand they sell ugly produce #DemandUgly – Talk to a manager, email a representative, send a Facebook message, or tweet.
- Check out Think.Eat.Save. to find news and movements around food waste prevention.
- Spread the word! Talk about it, join an online community, and stay up on the food waste reduction movement.
Need Some Inspiration?
Weird Al’s got you covered: Eat It