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6 Tips to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
Life and Style Daily
July 20, 2021
6 min

We are at a time where most of us think very little of the amount of food available to us for consumption. Modern technology made it possible to have an abundance of supplies, especially those who can afford it. This abundance, unfortunately, also brought about a huge problem --- food waste.

The situation looks bleak when looking at it from a bird’s eye view because all over the world, billions of tons of food go to waste every year. While the largest contributors are those large industrialized nations, every person who throws away food unnecessarily adds to the problem.

When you consider that every time food is discarded, the problem snowballs. With poor kitchen waste management, they find their way back to our environment as harmful greenhouse gases that harm the environment.

The good thing about this is that this problem, while global, can be solved right within our very homes. We can significantly reduce food wastage by making some simple changes in our food habits and how we eat and store them.

Because everyone is responsible, every single one of us has the power to do something about it as well. We look at simple yet effective ways of curbing food wastage to save the environment and positively impact you financially.

1. Change the way you acquire food.

The common misconception for a lot of people is that buying in bulk saves. Yes, it could be true in some cases, especially if the budget is limited, it could save some money.

However, if you end up buying more than you need, it is not only food that goes to waste but the money you used for buying it in the first place. The gist of it is, food waste management will not be a problem if you just buy what you need.

Pace yourself and budget your time to go to the grocery every week or so, and make it a habit to use up everything you bought in your last grocery run. Find the time to list down everything you need because a list will go a long way in preventing impulse buying. Bulk buying will lead to more wastage because you will end up buying more than you will ever need.

Here, our affinity for social media can help; instead of taking a selfie, take a ‘shelfie’ where you take a photo of your pantry to remind yourself actively as to what you still have.

Another essential habit to develop is to always look at the expiration dates or use-by dates on produce. Knowing exactly how long they will last will enable you to even more efficiently time your grocery runs. Besides, stores give discounted pricing to products near their expiration dates, so it is also an excellent way to save money.

2. Plan recipes some time ahead

Planning recipes is a great way to prevent food from going to waste, and it’s no different than when doing your finances. With food, you plan your recipes and how you will be using your leftovers --- governed with the same principles involving money, being impulsive when cooking can lead to food ending up in the trash bin.

Arm yourself with recipes that are both easy to prepare and those that are not easily spoiled. Fortunately, there are thousands of how-to videos all over the internet to help you learn just how to do it. With the information within easy reach, there is no excuse at all to start planning your cooking.

The execution for this plan nor its inception does not need to be complicated; in fact, you can get everyone in on it. Ask everyone in your family as to what recipes they would like. This way, you can be sure that there’s someone who would eat whatever recipe you follow. Another great benefit of planning your menus is that it is a great way to control your eating!

3. Keep your storage options clutter-free

One of the most common reasons for food waste is not having enough places to put leftovers into. Not just that, but many are not that knowledgeable about how certain food items are supposed to be stored.

For instance, some fruits produce more ethylene. Thus, they should be kept separately. Ethylene promotes ripening, and you know what happens when fruit goes ripe faster than anyone can eat them.

There is also food that is more susceptible to ethylene’s effects, such as apples, potatoes, leafy vegetables, and berries. These need to be kept in separate storage containers, away from those producing ethylene the most, such as bananas, tomatoes, or pears. Part of food waste solutions is making sure that you have the right storage for it.

Since you are getting serious about preventing spoilage, now is an excellent time to go shopping in your pantry. This means that you hunt down any cans of food that were staying at the back of your cabinets out of reach and find a way to incorporate them in your cooking. Just make sure to check the use-by dates on the containers to ensure they are still safe to eat.

Take stock of your actual storage hardware, like freezers and storage bins. Ensure that they are clean and not hiding stuff that’s been there forever. Get the old food items out (and use them) before putting the new stock for storage, especially if you plan on putting them there for long periods.

Organizing your storage space will indeed go a long way to reduce food spoilage. At this point, it is also an excellent time to decide whether you need an additional freezer or not.

4. Use alternative ways of preserving food

When talking about storing food, we immediately think of the refrigerator or the freezer, but these are not the only things you can use to preserve food. There are ways to keep food such as pickling, canning, drying, smoking, and curing, and are just some of the methods you can use.

If you do not know how to do these, simply reach out to the internet for help, and there are no shortages of people who will. These methods are not new either, they have been around for quite some time, and they were the go-to before any refrigeration was born.

Using alternative ways to preserve food can help free up precious space inside your freezers or refrigerators. On top of that, you can make food last even longer while saving energy. Did we mention that doing these can be time for family fun as well?

5. Buy your food online

Never has this been more appropriate than now, where the world is in the middle of a pandemic. Online shopping is not a new concept as it has been around since forever, but now it has taken center stage.

Almost everyone now has some form of purchase online, and grocery shopping should be no different. Not only will this activity save you time and effort, but it will also keep you relatively safer.

Online shopping and delivery options are just about endless right now as businesses adapt to the pandemic that is happening right now. For many people, this method is an appealing option. Not only will they be able to save time and gas money, but food items bought online usually come in neat packaging, and you only need to store them as they arrive.

Getting your food and grocery online also has the added benefit of avoiding impulse buying dramatically. Online, your eyes do not have to wander from aisle to aisle, thus doing an excellent job of keeping your spending habits in check.

Online shopping is infinitely more organized when putting your items in your virtual shopping cart, allowing you to take out or add items with ease. Also, shopping apps are cropping up all over the internet to help you even get more organized while offering even more ways to save money.

6. Save and use leftovers

Once you have settled your problems with storage, it will be easy to store leftovers and make them stay fresh enough to eat. It is a great idea to plan what to do with food left even as you prepare them. Organize your leftover storage in such a way that you will know what is inside the containers and how long they have been sitting in the fridge.

These items are also great to incorporate into your daily meals, or if you are feeling adventurous, add them to a recipe. There are tons of ways to use leftovers, and there is no reason why they should go to the trash bin.

Leftovers bits and pieces are great snack items, perfect for movie marathons and when friends come over. Inviting friends over is one of the most fun ways of food waste recycling ever.

Takeaway

Food going to waste is a global epidemic, but fortunately, the solution is simple enough to start with your very own pantry. A few changes in how you get them to your home, how you store them, and how you serve them will do wonders in your quest to avoid wasting food. Start with only buying what you need, and everything else will stem from there.

Want to know how to be frugal? Read ”7 Ways to be Frugal Without Being Cheap” to learn more.


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