33 Tips to Reduce Food Waste at Home – 80 Twenty Nutrition

33 Tips to Reduce Food Waste at Home

Food waste is a big deal – not only for the environment, but also for your wallet! Everyone’s been there: you stock your fridge with fresh food with the best of intentions to eat it all, and the next thing you know you’ve got rotting lettuce shoved in the back of the fridge and your nearly-full carton of milk has expired. Here are my top tips to reduce food waste at home.

33 Tips to Reduce Food Waste at Home

  1. Keep an eye on expiration dates

    Check the expiration dates before you buy something to make sure you’ll use all of it before it goes bad. Also, know the difference between expiration, sell-by, best by, and all the other terms! Check out this handy guide to make sure you’re not throwing away food that isn’t even bad yet. image: Pexels

  2. Keep your pantry stocked

    Keeping foods on hand that don’t have short expiration dates lets you create healthy meals quickly. I like to keep frozen fruits and veggies and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and more on hand since they don’t go bad!

  3. Freeze as you go

    Freeze food that’s not at its peak before it goes rotten; if you notice that you have produce or meat on hand that you won’t get to cook before it’s bad, just freeze for later use!

  4. Plan ahead

    Planning out your meals ahead of time is probably one of the most effective ways to save money and make sure you buy what you need and eat what you buy. Plan your meals for the week and head to the store with a list

                     image: Pexels

  5. Check the fridge

    Before you head to the store, check your kitchen to see what you already have on hand for the recipes you chose. That’ll keep you from buying duplicates of anything you already have, so that you can use up what’s in your fridge before it goes bad!

  6. Practice portion control

    Only cook the amount of food you know you and your family will eat – or plan to bring leftovers for lunch if you know you’ll end up with them! Often times we make a ton of food and end up tossing it before we can eat what’s leftover.

  7. Store properly

    Storing your food properly makes sure it doesn’t go bad before it should. Keep root veggies like potatoes, onions, and garlic in a cool, dark spot, and make sure your fridge and freezer are set to the proper temperature.                  image: candicebatista.com

  8. Use the last spoonful

    If you have just a spoonful of yogurt or nut butter left, add it into your next smoothie or bowl of cereal instead of tossing it!

  9. Keep it all in sight

    Keep foods that go bad quickly in sight – if they’re hidden in the back of your fridge, you’re more likely to forget about them and let them rot. You’ll be less likely to forget about things you meant to cook and more likely to toss the things you do have into dishes.

  10. Don’t go hungry

    Don’t go to the store hungry – you’re much more likely to buy things that aren’t on your list. Sticking to your list ensures that you’ll use what you buy rather than having a bunch of impulse-bought food sitting around.

                     image: Pexels

  11. Make broth

    Save your veggie scraps, peels, odds, and ends along with meat bones and herb stems in a container in your freezer. When the container is full, empty it into a pot and fill it with water. Simmer for a few hours and you’ll have flavorful broth you can add to soups, sauces, and more.

  12. Don’t let herbs go bad

    Knowing how to properly store herbs is key. Wash them, pat them dry, and store in sealed glass jars in the fridge – they seem to keep longer!

  13. Make tea

    Steep fruit peels and rinds in hot water for a few minutes and add a bit of honey for a flavorful, fruity tea that makes use of what you’d normally throw away.

  14. Keep garlic going for longer

    Peel garlic cloves and store them in the fridge in oil – they’ll keep for much longer and won’t dry out!                 image: tabbynera via Flickr

  15. Know where eggs belong

    The door of the fridge is the warmest spot, so don’t keep your eggs there – they’ll go bad much more quickly! Keep them in the main part of the fridge for the longest shelf life.

  16. Prevent moldy bread

    Store sliced bread in the freezer and just take out the number of slices you need at a time. You can leave a slice or two out overnight if you’re planning to make a sandwich in the morning, or microwave for a few seconds to thaw quickly.

  17. Donate what you don’t use

    If you have cans of food building up that you know you won’t lose, start adding the cans to a box. When it’s full, drive it over to your local food pantry rather than throwing them away.

  18. Chop in bulk

    I find that I’m way more likely to cook veggies if they’re already chopped up. Chop up most or all of your veggies right when you get home from the store or while you’re making a recipe that already requires a lot of chopping, then keep chopped veggies front and center – you’ll find yourself using them up much more quickly.

  19. FIFO

    That stands for “First in, First out” – if you find yourself with multiples of something, move the one that was “first in” to the front and make sure it’s the “first out.”

  20. Shop the bulk bins

    Bulk bins allow you to buy just the amount of grains, nuts, seeds, nut butter, dried fruit, etc. that you need. If you need 1/4 cup of raisins for a recipe and you know you don’t use them very often, you can buy just that amount in a bulk bin and not worry about wasting the rest of a package!                 image: sgrace via Flickr

  21. Get the most out of ingredients

    When you’re planning weekly meals, try to make sure you can use ingredients in more than one recipe, so that you don’t end up buying a whole package of something just for one use.

  22. Invest in containers

    If you have plenty of reusable containers on hand in many sizes, it’ll be easier for you to save leftovers, even if they’re small. There are also numerous creative containers available to help you hang onto odds and ends, like avocado halves or onion chunks.

  23. Use the whole veggie

    Most of the time, you can use even the parts of veggies that you’d normally throw away. Broccoli and cauliflower stems are delicious when roasted, and peels and skins can be saved for stock. Carrot tops and fennel fronds make great stand-ins for parsley and dill, and are great in pesto too!

  24. Save the stems

    Don’t toss your herb stems! They’re still packed with flavor; woody ones like rosemary and thyme stems can be tossed in with roasted vegetables or chicken, while tender stems from cilantro and parsley can be chopped up and used just like the leaves. Any herb stems are great additions to your stock container, too!

  25. Shop ugly

    Lots and lots of “ugly” produce gets thrown away by grocery stores because of weird shapes or small imperfections. Buying produce that isn’t picture perfect helps divert that food waste and keep it away from landfills!

  26. Keep a log

    Keeping a log of all the food waste you produce in a week is a great way to educate yourself on how much you waste and what you can improve on! Try it for a week and pay attention to where you can do better the following week.

  27. Consider composting

    Even if you don’t have a garden that would benefit from composting, check to see if your local community garden has a compost pile or if there’s a farm nearby that would like your food scraps for compost! You can usually just save a bucket and walk down to a community garden when it’s full to help start their compost.

  28. Make ice cubes (not out of ice!)

    Ice cube trays are great for saving just a little bit of something. Freeze the last few spoonfuls of yogurt to easily toss into a smoothie, freeze leftover smoothies as a “starter” for future smoothies, or freeze herbs in olive oil.

  29. Save leftovers

    When you go out to eat, don’t be afraid to take home leftovers! Even if you’ve only got a little bit leftover, it can supplement what you’re bringing for lunch.

  30. Split a dish

    If you’re heading to a restaurant that has large portions, see if you can split a dish with a friend so you don’t end up with tons of leftovers.

  31. Start out slow

    Especially if you’re at a buffet, start out with a small amount of food and head back for more if you need it rather than starting out with too much and having to waste food.

  32. Talk it out

    Tackle food waste with friends. Sharing a goal of reducing food waste can hold you both accountable and introduce you to new ways to reduce food waste!

  33. Go in it together

    Make a pact to split food up with your friends. If you buy a bunch of kale and your friend buys a bunch of carrots, but you’ll both only use half – swap your veggies! You’ll end up with more variety and you’ll be less likely to have a ton leftover.

What do you do to reduce food waste in your home? Would love to hear your ideas!

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

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