You might have experienced having to throw out spoiled food, whether it was half a plate or an entire tub. The thought of such wastage makes some homeowners uneasy. With the advent of sustainable living blogs, it’s a good time to try to reduce your food wastage at home. You can start off with the 12 tips listed below.
12 Steps to Avoid Food Wastage
- Don’t Overbuy! Stick to your grocery lists. Plan your meals, create detailed shopping lists, and go by them. Also, try buying local produce and checking out any nearby farmers’ markets on your next grocery run. Local produce contains less pesticides, if at all, and reduces CO2 levels because it is transported over shorter distances. This also means that it’s more readily available, so you don’t have to hoard it.
- Don’t Over-serve Food. It’s common to see massive portions in restaurants, but this leads to wastage if it becomes a dining room habit. Use smaller plates, and serve just enough food when cooking for family and friends.
- Save Leftovers. Have you cooked too much at home, or have you ordered too much on a night out? Take the leftovers home and place them in your fridge or freezer. Label leftovers to keep track of how long you’ve had them, and be sure to actually eat them.
- Store Food Properly. Some fruits and vegetables can be stored in the fridge, but some others are better left at room temperature. Know where to store fresh produce to keep them from expiring too early.
- Keep Storage Areas Tidy. It’s a shame for food items to expire just because you forgot they were there, hidden in the back of your fridge. Organize your fridge and your pantry so that you can see everything at a glance. Use the “first in, first out” rule, too, placing older items in front so that you can remember to eat them.
- Don’t Panic Over “Best Before” Dates. Expiration and sell-by dates only refer to food quality. People often throw out perfectly edible food just because it’s past expiration. Trust your senses instead: Does the food look, smell, and taste okay?
- If You Have It, Eat It. Go through your fridge and pantry, check for items that are about to expire, and plan to use them in your next recipe. You can mix things up with new recipes. For example, overripe fruit can become smoothies or casseroles or added to homemade bread.
- Preserve. People have canned, candied, and pickled food for thousands of years. With these techniques, you can extend the shelf life of fruit and other kinds of food for months.
- Donate. Sometimes, you have some excess food which you know you won’t be able to eat before it goes bad. Why not give it to someone in need? Read up on food banks and charities near you. You may also donate the food to farms as animal feed.
- Take It Outside. After everything is said and done, do you still have food scraps around? Don’t worry, there are a few options left. Seeds, celery, and potatoes are a few kinds of food that you can regrow in your backyard. You can try to compost other food scraps to make your own nutrient-rich fertilizer. Don’t focus too much on composting, though–the EPA ranks it as a last-resort option to keep food out of the landfill.
- Track Your Waste. If you have no choice but to toss a certain item, take note of it on a waste log. This helps you avoid repeating wastage in the future.
- Get an App. Yes, there are apps to help you cut down on food wastage, both for iPhones and Android phones! With these apps, you can get advice on ideal food storage, or purchase surplus food that would’ve otherwise been thrown out from nearby restaurants.
It takes a bit more mindfulness and some self-discipline, but you’ll still find it surprisingly simple to avoid food wastage at home. Who knows, you may also be able to stretch your creativity, creating grocery lists and figuring out how to prepare or preserve your food. Shop and eat responsibly with these 12 steps as a guide!
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