Food waste is a big problem in the world, which is why we have a holiday dedicated to preventing it. Sometimes, when we are busy living our lives, it is hard to imagine how much food we are actually wasting on a day-to-day basis. A lot of people might not even realize how much can be done to prevent food waste in the long run. These ten tips will help you to get even more out of your food, which will help save the planet while also saving your budget, too. Best of all, the tips won’t force you to live life too differently, which is a reason to celebrate in itself.
1. Shop Lightly
A lot of people tend to do all of their shopping in one sitting. Although this can be fine when it comes to canned and boxed items, it isn’t always great for produce and meats. So, if you can, try to avoid shopping for these items until a day or two prior to cooking them. This will offer you fresher ingredients and will ensure that you can easily get your money’s worth out of the products you buy. Of course, you might try to avoid shopping for lots of food at once anyway. A lot of the time, this leads to items sitting on the shelf for too long, so they are often forgotten before their expiration date arrives. So, by shopping more frequently, you will find a lot more of your feed gets used on time, which will save on your food budget.
2. Plan Around Items in Your Home
Before you go shopping, you might want to take an inventory of the food in your cabinet. This will allow you to easily get rid of some of the items in your pantry, so nothing goes to waste. Apart from this awesome feature, it will also mean that you won’t have to grab as much at the store which will save you even more at the store. Using this technique will actually help you to stop and plan too, which is a great way to set up your day for success.
3. Utilize Leftovers
Leftovers tend to be a common occurrence in most households. However, they aren’t always something that is particularly enjoyed. If you make a big meal and your family grows tired of the leftovers, then try to breathe new life into them. You can transform leftovers into a sandwich worthy of Micheline stars, or you can create something entirely new out of the dishes. There are numerous recipes online to help you take your leftovers to a new level. All you have to do is put in the type of leftovers that you have and let the internet work its magic. You may even find dishes that you prefer over the original meal that you made, which will give the family something to look forward to.
A lot of the food that hits the trash doesn’t actually need to go there. Instead of throwing it away, you might consider creating your own compost. When you have compost, things like produce waste, eggshells, and so on, can be placed in a special container that can then be used to help improve your soil after a time. You can create compost in many different ways, so you might want to surf around to figure out what will work out best for your family. There are even devices that you can purchase that will compost quickly and will even fit below your kitchen sink. When you’re finished composting, add it to your garden or just a flower pot inside the home.
5. Store Properly
One of the main problems people face when it comes to food waste is their groceries spoiling. A lot of this has to do with food not being stored properly. A lot of the food we commonly have in the home isn’t being stored properly. Often, we learn how to store food from how our parents stored food. However, this isn’t always how things should be stored. So, if you notice that some of your food isn’t lasting long then you might research how to properly store it. There are also special storage containers to help you get a little more life span out of some of your food.
6. Utilize Freezing
When the leftovers just aren’t going to cut it or you make a large batch of food that you can’t get through, then freezing is a great option for your excess food. When you freeze food, you can come back to it in a few weeks or in some cases, a few months later. Storing food in the freezer isn’t complicated either. A lot of people use resealable bags or storage containers to keep their items secure. However, you can purchase items to store the food, like a food sealer that will help prevent your dishes from getting freezer burn. Having a few items in the freezer will also make your life easier as you can heat them up in no time.
7. Food Preservers
If you really want to help keep your items fresh and enjoyable then you might want to look into items that help to preserve the quality of food. One option is a special item that can be placed in your produce drawer. This helps to reduce gases that break down the produce more quickly. You can also choose airtight options to keep items from going stale. These are especially great for bread as the lack of air helps to prevent it from molding. Of course, this is only scratching the surface as there are so many products to try out when it comes to preserving your food.
8. Understand Dates
Another problem many people face is not understanding the dates on their food. There are so many different things written on foods, that it might be hard to keep up with them all. Two of the more common options are sell by and use by. A lot of people will toss out items if they go past the sell-by-date, but this is unnecessary. The foods tend to still be good at this point, but you might look up each unique item to see how much longer it can be enjoyed. Use by dates are a little less flexible as these items usually aren’t fresh past this date; however, best by dates also have some wiggle room, but you might be sacrificing quality when you do this. You can learn about these dates online, so make sure to do your research.
9. Create Broths
You don’t have to toss out items like bones and vegetable cuttings. These items are still of use to you, especially if you enjoy making soups or cooking with bouillon. All you have to do to make a broth is place the items you hope to use in water and boil them for quite some time. Of course, you can also use the crockpot to help make it even easier to utilize your scraps. Things like chicken bones will help to make delicious broth that you can use to cook so many things. Vegetable cuttings will create a vegetable broth that is full of flavor. Once your broth is finished, cook with it or freeze it. This will help cut back on spending in the grocery store while keeping your meals a bit healthier.
10. Portion Control
Another major problem that people face is cooking too much. A lot of people don’t really understand the portion size they should be eating, so not only do they cook too much, but they also put too much on their plates. Since this food has been touched it won’t store for as long, so it usually goes to waste. Learning appropriate portion sizes can help you remedy this problem while also keeping you healthier. Plus, it will allow you to purchase fewer groceries in the future, which will save lots of money.
Food waste is bad for many aspects of our lives. From keeping your budget high to harming the planet, it is important to do what we can to avoid excess waste. So, this month, you might work to change the way you handle food waste. You’ll notice changes in your lifestyle, health, and budget, which will definitely make you fall in love with your new food-saving techniques.