What if I told you that you could afford that trip to Thailand this year if you stopped wasting food and started buying more wisely. Sounds ridiculous, right! Well, the current statistics on household wastage of food says otherwise. According to ReFED, $144 billion worth of food is wasted annually in the US alone. In the United Kingdom, an average household throws away 28 meals every month, costing them over £70 a month. You do the math, and there goes your trip to Thailand in the garbage year after year!
Here are a few simple steps you can take to minimize food waste and save money:
Plan your shopping:
Most of us buy food in bulk quantities as it is more convenient, but it also leads to a high level of wastage. It’s better to make scheduled trips to the grocery store every 3 days preferably Wednesday & Saturdays rather than once a week which will make it easier for you to plan your meals. Also, it is essential for you to plan your grocery list in advance to avoid buying unnecessary items and spend additional money.
Organize your storage:
Understanding why and how our food gets spoiled is a vital part of avoiding food waste. Learning how to preserve food will help you avoid making unnecessary purchases. Fun Fact! Vegetables like potatoes, onions, tomatoes, etc. must be stored at room temperature and should not be refrigerated. Also, the FIFO method (First In First Out) is one of the simplest ways to organize your food. Remember, out of sight is out of mind!
The art of cooking is non-existent. With our 9:00 – 5:00 jobs we hardly prefer to cook these days and most of us buy packaged foods especially meat products which in turn results in more plastic waste. To decrease plastic & food waste as much as possible, we need to start right at home by opting for a jute or cloth bag to get your groceries. Buying organic food instead of plastic junk food will also reduce waste and help you lead a more healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, you can opt to buy directly from the farmers market, which will help you to avoid buying your fruits and vegetables in plastic bags.
If you regularly overcook, then it’s better to have a look in your fridge before you start cooking again. Utilize the leftovers, and if you feel like cooking something else entirely donate the excess food. It’s also crucial that you store the leftovers in a proper container rather than just covering it up on a plate to avoid food spoilage.
The Myth About Expiration Dates:
There is a lot of confusion among consumers, including me regarding the ‘expiry date’ and the ‘best before’ date. To clear the confusion, expiry date specifies the point of time after which a product cannot be used. On the contrary’ best before’ states that consumers should use the product by a particular date to get the best quality. Such foods can be consumed after a few days of the mentioned best before date. So next time before you toss out that carton of milk or those canned beans, make sure to check the labels.
Small habits make vast differences. There are numerous ways to reduce reuse and recycle waste with some individuals following a strict zero-waste policy. Now I don’t say that everyone should adapt to such a lifestyle. But changing what we buy, how we buy and how we consume it can go a long way in tackling the problem of growing food waste.