How To Reduce Food Waste At Home
Food waste is a very real issue for most households. It’s often the case that we buy food items that go out of date too soon, we end up going out for lunches or dinners instead of using the food at home, or we just forget about certain items when they get shoved to the back of the fridge/cupboard.
We have some tips to reduce food waste at home this year.
Start at the beginning…
It all starts with the food shop. So here are some tips to get more bang for your buck at the supermarket which should lead to you cutting down on food waste at home.
Plan out your meals for the week as best you can. Obviously it’s not possible to plan for everything, and a spontaneous takeaway might be needed one night, but having an idea of your meals for the week can help reduce costs and waste.
2)Don’t shop on an empty stomach
When you’re hungry and enter a supermarket all hell can break loose! Everything you see looks tasty and ends up being added to the trolley. This means you come home with more food than you and your family can consume before it goes bad, and food waste occurs.
3)Check the date!
If you’re doing a weekly food shop, make sure that the fresh items you are buying (fruit, veg, meat etc) are within their ‘use by’ date by the end of the week. There’s nothing worse than planning your meals only to realise the main ingredient went off two days ago and has to go in the bin!
4)Have a backup plan
It’s often the case that we buy foods for certain scenarios. Take for example you buy more meat than necessary because you or a family member are having some friends round for dinner. These plans then get cancelled, don’t throw out the excess meat - have a backup plan! Make the dish and freeze the leftovers, or take some in for lunch the next day.
When you’re at home…
Now that you’ve completed your weekly grocery shop it’s time to focus on how waste can occur, and how it can be prevented, at home.
Here are some tips for reducing food waste at home.
1)Eat by date
We sound like a broken record, but eating food according to how fast it expires is key to preventing food waste. A handy way to do this is to stock your fridge and cupboards in order of expiration date. Put the items that are going to expire first at the front so that you use these first. If you have random items left at the end of the week that are in date, don’t throw them away - make a leftover dish with these recipes!
If you want to cut down on the amount of food you are binning each week, it’s a good idea to keep note of exactly what items you are throwing away. Don’t use the full litre of milk by the time it expires? Perhaps opt for a smaller carton at the grocery store. You’re reducing your waste, and saving money. The same can be said for bread. If you’re not eating a whole loaf and end up throwing it away you can freeze half of it for the next week or many supermarkets sell a half loaf.
3)Sort out your storage
If you’re noticing that items like your bread or cereal is going stale quickly, then perhaps it’s time to invest in some storage solutions. Airtight containers come in all shapes and sizes and are relatively affordable so you’ll save money in the long run!