Did you know that approximately one third of all food that is produced for human consumption is wasted each year? Food waste is a huge issue, with vast social, economic and environmental costs.
During a time when the economy is uncertain and more and more people are cooking and eating at home - finding ways to reduce your food waste can be hugely beneficial to you and your family! Making sure that your hard earned money is used to buy food to nourish you (instead of the garbage) is essential.
So, with that being said, here are 5 ways that you can reduce food waste at home to maximize your money and reduce your environmental footprint:
1. Be realistic about what you and your family will eat - one of the biggest culprits of food waste is over-buying. Be realistic about the amount of food you and your family need to reduce the chance that items will spoil before you have a chance to eat them. Keep track of how much your family actually eats throughout the week and what ends up being left over and discarded. Paying attention to this will give you great insight the next time you go to the grocery store.
2. Meal plan - meal planning is an excellent tool to help you deal with point number 1, above. Each week, make a list of meals that you want to have available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Write out a list of ingredients that you need to make each meal and then take that to the grocery store. Going to the grocery store without a list leads to - 1. Buying random items that won’t make a complete meal, 2. Buying unnecessary foods and 3. Spending more money.
3. Grocery shop once per week - right now, many countries are under strict governmental requirements on how frequently they are able to leave the house. Always listen to your local authorities, but in general, try to grocery shop once per week. Weekly shopping helps to ensure that fresh items do not spoil before you get a chance to eat them and helps prevent you from overbuying.
4. Use proper storage techniques for items that spoil quickly - make sure that you are storing your items properly. Search online to figure out the best way to store fruits, vegetables, grain products, meats, etc. to increase their shelf-life. When possible, freeze items that are close to their expiration date so you can eat them later instead of throwing them away.
5. Avoid clutter in your fridge and pantry - if you can’t see something in your fridge, you probably won’t eat it! Make sure that the items in your fridge and pantry are visible to ensure that you are identifying items that need to be eaten sooner rather than later.
Minimizing food waste is essential for our planet now and moving forward. Tag us on instagram @thezolacollective to show us ways that you are reducing food waste at home!