10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Experts estimate that up to 40% of all food we produce is wasted – that accounts to more than 20 pounds of food, per person, every month. Reducing food waste benefits our wallets as we save money from buying less food, it reduces methane emissions from landfills, lowers your carbon footprint, and conserves energy and resources.
We can all pitch in to reduce wasted food. Here are 10 simple tips to help you reduce food waste at the grocery store, at home, and during meals:
- Buy items only when you have a plan for using them. It’s tempting to buy all the produce thinking we’ll be a kitchen magician and use it all in time – but creating a plan will help you execute great meals without waste.
- Buy in bulk only when you know you’ll use it all. Buying more than we can realistically use can create more food waste – and wastes cash too.
- Buy funny-looking produce when you can. These items are perfectly good to eat, taste just as good (trust me) and buying them at a farmers market or store can help use up food that might otherwise be tossed.
- Make a list of what is about to go bad in your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry and plan upcoming meals around it.
- Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
- Write down what you throw away. Information is power – you may find out that you throw away half a gallon of milk and you can buy the quart size next time.
Use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat, if safe and healthy to do so. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.
Practice FIFO - First In, First Out. When unloading groceries, move older product to the front and put new product in the back.
Make it go further. Put soft fruit into a smoothie and wilting spinach into soup.
Understand expiration dates. They often don’t have to do with food safety but food quality. For more on this, watch our Expiration Dates Health Hack video.
You can use strawberries slightly past their prime for this strawberry shrub. Add to club soda with a spring of mint for a refreshing spring spritzer.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
White wine vinegar
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add strawberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and rest for a few minutes, until it is ok to handle. Strain, reserving liquid, pressing the berries gently into the strainer to extract more juice.
- Measure the resulting liquid and add half again as much white wine vinegar. (If yield is 8oz, add 4oz vinegar). Store in the refrigerator, ideally for two weeks prior to usage.