Do you struggle with food waste? Buying food and ending up with food waste at home is not just a waste of money; it is a waste of time and natural resources, too. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, about 30% to 40% of food supply goes to waste along the food supply chain. When you break down these figures, it means that a person discards one pound of food per day on average!
More shockingly, about 68% of the country’s food waste ends up either in landfills or combustion plants. Preventing food waste saves money, conserves resources, preserves the dumps, cuts down the amount of methane gas emissions, and provides food for the less fortunate in the community.
You can prevent food waste, and below are actionable tips to help you achieve zero food waste.
Create a food shopping plan
More food goes to waste at the retail and consumer point. And thanks to food production subsidies, food tend to be cheaper, and you might want to buy more than you need. You need a food shopping plan to avoid purchasing excess amounts of food. Do a thorough food audit at home before your next visit to the grocery store. Take note of the favorite meals you consume and the quantities you need. Keep tabs on the types of food that spoil fast and buy less of this on your next visit to the store.
You can also create a complete list of your weekly meals with the ingredients you need to prepare the meals. Check your cupboards and refrigerator for food before buying more. Exhausting your food at home ensures that you don’t end up buying more food when you still have some at home.
Good storage is crucial to prevent food waste.
Failing to store food in the right conditions is a recipe for food wastage. Fruits and vegetables are the most perishable foods, so you need to figure out how to store these types of food. You can prepare and refrigerate perishable food like vegetables and meat. Freeze excess fruits and vegetables for future use. Preparing meals ahead of time will save you time and prevent food waste.
Repurpose the leftover food.
Leftover food doesn’t mean that it should go into the trash. Find creative ways to prepare delicious meals from leftovers. You can also store leftover food in containers or zip-lock bags and freeze them, and you will have food or ingredients for the next mealtime.
Food waste is still useful, don’t toss the food scraps.
Is your lettuce starting to wilt? A dip in cold water will make it crisp. Before you toss out food that’s about to go bad or the fruits and vegetable peelings, explore ways to consume it first. There are endless recipes on the internet to show you how to use peelings and trimmings from fruits, vegetables, bones, and shells. You can make yum chips from potato peels or use your corn cobs to make sweet-flavored cooking fat. Also, fruit peels can make perfect ingredients for smoothies or sauces.
Once you stretch out your leftovers and remain with shells and peels that you can’t consume, then you can consider composting. Turning food waste into compost reduces the carbon footprint and is suitable for the soil.
Be mindful of food portions.
Buffets are tempting, but it doesn’t mean you should serve all. Serve food portions that you can finish to prevent food waste. Also, order only enough food at a restaurant, and if you remain with leftovers, you can pack and take them home so you can eat them later. The same thumb rule applies at home when you are serving food. Being mindful of the portion saves a lot.
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