As Americans we waste about a pound of food per person per day! Think about how much a pound of something costs…$1, $10, or $20 and prices are going up every day. I know a lot of the food we waste is from restaurants. After working in restaurants for almost 2 decade, the amount of food we threw away on a daily basis is embarrassing. I know I have in the past and sometimes do waste a lot of food at home. We can all get better at this. We also have to think about all the resources used to produce food that is also wasted when we throw something out that could’ve been used. There is the water used to produce it, possibly crops to feed it, gas to transport it, electricity in the store and at home to keep it cold or heat it up. So many resources are wasted when we throw food out. I want to give you these tips to help you reduce your food waste and keep that money in your pocket and out of the trash. 

1. Plan your meals and shop with a list.

This is one of the best ways to help reduce food waste. You might have to do a little experimentation to see what you will actually need/eat each week, especially if you are used to eating out most of the time. Check out my other blog on about meal prepping. 

2. Use what you have.

A great way to reduce food waste is to have at least one day a week that you don’t have food planned for and just use up leftovers or extra ingredients you have laying around. There are tons of ways to use leftovers. Be creative or you can just eat a random plate of food, arrange it on a nice plate, charcuterie board style.

3. Learn how to use leftovers better.

You can use leftover veggies and/or meat to top salads, use them to make a pasta dish, you can make a stir fry or make a soup or smoothie. You could also make sandwiches or wraps. Learn to make stock from scratch. It is pretty simple to take veggie scraps and bones(if you are a meat eater), put in a large pot, add cold water and simmer for several hours. You can also learn to preserve your food by making jams or pickles. Make bread crumbs or croutons out of old bread. The possibilities are endless. 

4. Freeze extra to use later.

You can always freeze extras to eat on a day you would rather not cook, or don’t have time to cook. You could even make extra on purpose and freeze for a busy day. Just don’t forget you have it in the freezer. Make sure to add the freezer meals to your meal plans.

5. Learn to store food properly

Do you know what fruits and vegetables to store in the fridge or at room temp? There are different fruits and vegetables that need to be stored separately because they will make them age quicker. If you soak your berries in white vinegar it will keep them from molding for much longer. Check out this blog for more info on storing food.

6. Keep your fridge and pantry clean.

If you can see what you have you are more likely to use it. I know I have, many times I have found a rotten head of lettuce or a half smashed tomato I ended up throwing out. Keep it clean, and use what you have. Besides who doesn’t love looking at a nice organized clean fridge. 

7. Shop a few times per week.

Depending on your lifestyle this might be the best way to go instead of one big shopping trip a week. This way you can buy only what you will need for a few days. If you are cooking for only one or two people this is a great way to shop. And you are able to adjust to what you want to eat at the moment. 

8. Compost your scraps.

If you don’t make stock or use scraps in any other way you can compost your scraps. Here is a quick guide to composting. There are a lot of cities that now have businesses like this one that will compost for you, if you don’t have space or desire to do it yourself. Even better if you can find a nonprofit in your city that could use your scraps.

In conclusion, there are a ton of ways you can reduce your food waste. It does take some planning and being creative, but it is so worth it. Think of all the money you can save and all the resources you won’t be wasting.

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