According to statistics, roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted. Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. (Fai.org)
Imagine what this environmental damage entails, and how much money is wasted.
Let’s admit it, we all have a contribution in this growing worldwide epidemic and it’s about time that we take action. By being conscious about the food that we waste, we not only help Mother Earth but our bank accounts, too.
That being said, here are 6 helpful ways to reduce food waste and save money on groceries.
1. Plan your meals.
With meals planned ahead, you get to avoid unnecessary food or grocery item purchases that won’t even get used. When choosing your meals for the week, make sure to work around what you already have. Check your pantry and fridge for ingredients that you already have and plan your recipes from that.
…and… ALWAYS shop with a list that you have prepared in advance! If you are not in the habit of weekly menu planning, try it. You will be amazed at the amount of time and money that will save you. Not only that, but you find that your meals are just more satisfying!
2. Store your food and ingredients properly.
Storing your food items in the right places will extend the product’s shelf life. Ensure that your biscuits, cereals, grains and other dry goods are placed in airtight containers. Also, know which part of the fridge every item should go into and set the temperature correctly to keep your produce fresh for as long as possible.
3. “Marie Kondo” your fridge & pantry.
If you’ve been living under the rock and don’t know who Marie Kondo is, well, she’s the famous Japanese author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book aims to teach readers to embrace the way to a life filled only with the items we truly cherish – and that includes the food products we store in our fridge and pantries. They say out of sight is out of mind, so when we have too much food items collected, a lot of it are forgotten and wasted. Learn from Marie Kondo’s book to know how to organize and avoid clutter in your fridge, pantry and freezer.
4. Don’t be shy to ask for a doggie bag.
It’s 2019, there’s nothing to be ashamed about taking your leftovers home… the real shame is letting your food go to waste. [Editor’s note: My wife and I often visit some of our favorite restaurants with a plan to eat only about half of the main entre, and take the rest home to enjoy later.]
5. Eat your leftovers.
Whether it’s a restaurant meal or a home-cooked one, just store them well and heat it again for your next meal or for the next day.
If you are not a fan of eating leftovers, you can just re-purpose the food or food items into new recipes. You can make a delicious fried rice from leftover rice or banana bread from overripe bananas. There is always a practical use for almost any piece of food you might throw away.
6. Donate extra food.
Lastly, you can donate your extra food (from a party that you hosted, for example) if you know your family won’t able to eat all of it.
Check your local charities for rules and restrictions when donating food items.