Stop Wasting Your Food! Tips to Waste Less & Save More
Did you know that 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste? I’m a bit shocked at that number, but according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, that means 20 pounds per person is tossed every month! Not only is that a waste of food and natural resources, but it comes out to a staggering $165 billion each year!
In an economy where we are all a bit more strapped for money and where 1 in 6 Americans struggle to get food on the table, this is hard to comprehend; that we, as a nation, are consciously wasting that much food and money.
The report gives some sobering stats and also lists some ways that waste can be limited in the food supply system, but I wanted to highlight a few small tips that we, as consumers, can make to help us waste less, and ultimately save more money in our pocketbooks.
5 Tips for Consumers to Waste Less Food
1. Only buy what you will use. Sounds simple right? But the truth is that so much food is bought, and then just thrown away because it goes bad or it is past the expiration date. I love a good deal, but I don’t buy something unless I know my family will use it or I plan to give it to someone else. Once you get your new items home, make sure you check the expiration dates and place anything that expires earlier in front so it is used first.
2. Plan your meals. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just start with simple theme nights (like taco Tuesday or Pasta Thursday). Once you have your menu for the week, it will be easy to check your cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator for what items you already have on hand so you don’t have to buy more than what you will eat. This tip will help you stay on budget with not only buying what you plan to use, but it will also help you plan to use any leftovers you have because you can actually plan a “leftover night” in your menu plan schedule.
3. Use your freezer. The freezer isn’t just for leftovers. Many items like bread, meat, cheese, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and even milk can be frozen, which will make it last longer. Plus, if you are buying products that are already marked down on clearance, just freeze them until you are ready to use them. Make sure you label the items along with a date so you can keep track of what it is and when you should use it by.
4. Watch your portions. I’m sure I don’t have to mention that the portions we use in the U.S. are huge and really unnecessary for both our budgets and our waistlines. Eating less food starts with buying less food, and only cooking what we know we need.
5. Share your food. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, watch those portions. I recommend sharing an entrée with your loved one – or even order off the kids menu (or appetizer menu). Not only is this practice to help you eat less and waste less, but it will also help you spend less!
These are simple tips that I hope can help you easily cut back on waste and spending. So tell me, what other tips do you have to help families waste less food each month?