Did you know that on average, an American family of four dumps approximately $1,600 worth of food every year? That’s a lot of food going to waste that could have been money that you save. This amounts to nearly 80 billion pounds of food being thrown away. This is almost 40% of the entire food supply in the US.
Fortunately, there are some simple solutions to what we can do to cut down on the food that we throw away. This might look like a drop in the ocean but it goes a long way in making a significant difference, especially on World Food Day. Let’s get started on our seven easy hacks to cut down on food waste and save money in the process.
Make shopping a strategy
While this might seem obvious to you, not a lot of people follow it. We often go shopping without a plan and then let ourselves be tempted to splurge. When it comes to shopping for items with an expiry date, first plan how much you will use in a week and purchase accordingly.
Don’t just pick up 10 kilograms of tomatoes because you’re getting a discount. If you end up dumping a good amount of it after it loses its shelf life, you aren’t saving anything.
Look out for leftovers
We often end up not finishing everything we’ve cooked for the day. Store it safely in the fridge and take it to work the next day. Make sure you eat it in a day or two. Constantly remind yourself you have some of that yummy food you made stocked up in the fridge.
Leftovers aren’t that bad if you don’t forget them. Warm them up the next day and you won’t end up throwing them away. Another reminder is to make sure you review the food in your fridge every two days so you aren’t letting anything inside go to waste.
Here’s a pro tip: Use clear glass or see-through containers to store the leftovers. That way, they will catch your eye when you open the fridge. An alternative is to label the containers with bright sticky notes if they are not easily clear.
Don’t wait to freeze it
Leftovers are only as good as how well you store them. Waiting to stock your leftover meal up in the fridge will cost you. There are some food types that last a while and those that don’t. Don’t risk it. Stock food right after your meal so nothing goes to waste. Make this a habit and it will save you money on food.
Here’s a pro tip: You might not know this but a lot of food items are great to store in the fridge. This includes biscuits, bread and a whole range of food that you can prolong their shelf life with simply by storing it in your fridge.
This one is a fun exercise. Leave a container in your fridge. Whenever you have leftover food items like meat, broth, veggies or anything that can make ingredients to make soup, throw them into this container.
When it becomes full, turn it into a quick soup after adding the other required ingredients. This will save you money on food and turn leftovers into a tasty starter.
Not everything may work though. So, keep trying and make sure everything you throw in makes a good fit. Remember, in the end, you’re saving money and not wasting food and, in turn, doing the world a favor.
Once you start living frugally with food, you will find what you dump the most is produce. The upside in this is fruits and vegetables usually stay fresh a lot longer if you leave them in their natural state.
Don’t cut, prep or sort them out as soon as you buy them. Leave them on the stem or in one piece until you’re ready to use them. Invest in big, non-airtight containers. Give your produce room to breathe. At the same time, remind yourself to store what you can in the fridge.
You will find your food lasting a lot longer than before when you store it this way. This ensures you don’t waste food and save money.
Track your stock
There’s a lot of money you can save by simply being organized. Now that’s a lesson that applies to food management too. Don’t just stock up what you buy wherever you like. Keep the new stock behind the old stock. That way, you’ll be clearing up the older food first.
Moreover, placing similar items in the same place, organizing your stock in containers and neatly arranging your storage area will help you track everything with your eye. Make sure nothing is hidden. Out of sight is out of mind and into the bin.
Here’s a pro tip. Write down what you have. That ensures you do two things: 1. Track what you have. 2. Plan your meals better. Stick a note up on your fridge door or anywhere you can see it and you will end up using what you have and dishing out tasty meals.
Make recipe plans based on what you have in stock. Look up recipes online and you will find yourself turning into quite the chef.
Polish your serves
Children may be your biggest eaters. That doesn’t mean they will always eat large meals. Sometimes, they will binge and other days, they will just take a bite. Serve them with all your heart but give them small portions to start their meals with.
That allows them to eat how much ever they want and always ask for more. This keeps a tab on the food and on the money you will save.
Remember, every bit of food you save is a bit of food you’re saving for someone else.