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Everyone has experienced going grocery shopping and forgetting what you’ve bought. Your food sits in the drawers of your fridge slowly going bad.
This doesn’t have to happen. There are tips and tricks to avoid you wasting money on food every single month.
The United Nations has announced that the amount of food wasted globally a year is more than enough to feed the nearly 1 billion starving humans in the world.
Throwing food out will not only reduce the amount of food you have in your home but also cost you more money throughout the year.
There are a few tricks you can use to reduce the amount of food you waste. This will save you much more money than you thought possible.
1. Stick To A List
By making a list of the groceries you have in your fridge you can easily see what you have on hand. This can be done by getting a dry erase board from the dollar store and write what you have in your fridge.
Not only will this allow you to easily come up with thoughts for dinner but also make grocery shopping a breeze.
When you are out of something make a separate list beside what you have in your fridge. This way all you need to do is take a picture of the list of food that you are out of for when you go grocery shopping.
You can even send that list to your partner for them to pick up the items on their way home from work.
If you don’t want to spend money on a dry erase board you can download an app called Out Of Milk. It’s accessible from Apple and Android devices through their app stores.
The best part is that you can sync with other people. This means your whole family can have access to this app and add or subtract items they want or think the family needs.
It’s very important that you don’t buy more food than you need. This is the number one reason why people throw away food. If you can’t decide on how much to get always side on less.
This will save you from feeling forced to eat the food and save you money because your grocery trips will be smaller.
Another great tip is to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. While this can sometimes be unavoidable, this is a guaranteed way to buy more than you need and effectively spend much more at the grocery store leading to more waste.
2. Add Paper Towel To Lettuce
This simple trick can save your lettuce from wilting and decomposing. By putting a paper towel under your lettuce, spinach or any other leafy green you can prolong it’s life for up to 50% longer.
By absorbing some of the moisture of these greens it helps to keep them fresh and crisp allowing your produce to last longer than ever before.
As one of the most thrown out items with the fastest expiry date, finding a way to prolong this life will leave your family healthier than ever before.
3. Eat On Smaller Plates
This may seem silly but it’s effective at combating not only too large of portions but also overeating. Using smaller plates makes you think about what you actually want to eat.
It’s effective at training your brain to catch up to your stomach. Taking smaller portions can help you to not put additives like ketchup on more than you can eat meaning you throw away less food.
Typically you eat when you are hungry and that can lead way to your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Most people put away leftovers but don’t include the food left on their plates.
Taking less food means that you are less likely to have leftovers on your plate and therefore are left with even less waste.
4. Split Up Your Bread Items
If your family uses bread slowly it’s a good idea to freeze part of it. This way you can have half a loaf of bread out to use.
When you are getting low on bread take the rest of the loaf out of the freezer and it will last as long as a new loaf. You can also use this trick for bagels.
Putting bread and bread products in the fridge will also help it to stay good for longer. If you would rather your bread sit on the counter, be sure to add a stalk of celery into the bag.
The celery will keep the bread moist for longer making it taste fresh for even longer.
You can also use the ends of the bread instead of throwing them away. Put ends in the freezer until you have a full bread bag. These can be easily turn them into bread crumbs. You can even save this for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Don’t use bread crumbs regularly? Try cutting the ends up and adding some oil and spices and bake. This will give you delicious home made croutons that allow you to use your bread in more unique ways than you thought.
5. Avoid Shopping In Bulk For Perishable Items
We know you can save a lot of money by shopping in bulk. Stores like Costco have unbeatable prices and with more focus on larger value sized products it becomes a no brainer to shop for more than you need.
While this can oftentimes be a great idea, it’s different with perishable items.
Milk, cheese, eggs, meat and produce have a faster expiry date causing bulk shopping to often be left with excess waste.
Of course there are lots of things you can do such as freeze meat, grate and freeze cheese, and use your excess milk and eggs in baking and cooking. But even with following these steps you’ll oftentimes still lose some food to an impending expiry date.
This goes for produce as well. Even though it may seem like a great idea to buy a box of mandarin oranges most of the time it isn’t.
Why spend all that money to eat half of the oranges? It’s almost always more efficient and cost saving to buy less produce more often. Head over to the local farmers market and support your neighborhood farmers.
Not only will you be getting amounts of produce that you can actually eat before it goes bad but you can also rest assured that there is no pesticides and you are getting fresh fruit and vegetables.
6. Try A Vacuum Sealer
Contrary to popular belief vacuum sealers are inexpensive and easy to use. They essentially remove the air from a bag before you store food.
This is an excellent way to get rid of freezer burn when storing food for long periods in a deep freezer. The air that gets trapped in a bag is what causes freezer burn. By removing this air your food will stay fresh longer.
Not only will this allow you store your food for longer but you’ll also be able to store more of it. This machine will remove the air from a bag essentially compressing it to it’s smallest form. You’
ll be amazed at how much more you can fit into your fridge or freezer by using this machine. It will also give you the ability to store food for longer.
7. Reuse Leftovers
Some people don’t like eating leftovers while others don’t mind. These can make great, and quick, lunches for your kids. You can even portion them out into meal sizes right after a meal.
This will make mornings quick and easy while getting food out of your fridge.
Make sure you can see what is actually in the containers. If you have no idea what’s in the tupperware container at the back of your fridge you are far more likely to end up throwing it away.
You can get clear glass containers for leftover food. Storing it in these containers will not only allow you to see what is in them but also easily heat up the food. Simply take the lid off and throw into a microwave or even an oven and you have a hot meal.
8. Use Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is largely underused in an effort to keep food fresh and instead primarily used in the baking and cooking process.
While it makes for a great way to cook food, its uses go far beyond just that. Wrap food with a potent smell, such as onions, in aluminum foil before refrigerating to eliminate the smell from leaking out to your other refrigerated items.
Be sure to store soon to be cooked meats in aluminum foil to help them stay juicy and fresh.
Storing poultry and meat in aluminum foil allows them to soak in a non-acidic marinade effortlessly allowing your food to not only stay fresh but stay delicious.
Rip apart bananas so they are no longer in a bundle to help them last longer. Then, wrap the individual stems in aluminum foil to help slow the ripening process.
This works by stopping the bananas from releasing to much gasses and therefore allows them to stay good for longer.
9. Puree Soon To Expire Fruit
If your fruit is soon to expire, try blending them to a puree and freezing for delicious fresh summertime popsicles. You can also use these as a healthy morning juice or even add it to soup for added flavor.
There are many ways you can use fruit that is expiring soon without having to rush the expiry date and overeat. All you need for to puree is a powerful blender.
10. Make Smoothie Bags With Your Soon To Expire Food
Cut up fruits that are almost bad, such as bananas and strawberries, to freeze for your morning smoothies. Have soon to expire lettuce or any other leafy green?
Try using some resealable bags and separate your greens into smoothie sized bags that are easy to grab. Have excess yogurt? Grab an ice cube tray and and fill with yogurt that is soon to expire.
This will freeze them into molds that you can add to your smoothie bags. You’ll now effectively take all of your potential waste and transform it into easy to grab morning smoothies you’ll actually enjoy.
11. Buy Imperfect Produce
Ok so this may not be a way to actively reduce food waste but it’
s such a good way to cut down on your grocery bill we couldn’t leave it out. Supermarkets do a lot of work to ensure that they have the best looking line up of food on their shelves.
For that reason, you can often find the imperfect looking produce for a fraction of the cost.
The taste will be the same but your pepper will just likely have a different number of lobes or be slightly off color or your mushroom just be slightly smaller/larger than the ideal.
This seems laughable and not true, but trust us. Not all grocery stores will offer this option so you may have to visit a couple until you find one that does.
12. Monitor What You Throw Away
Write down week by week what you throw away. This may seem tedious but it’s the single most important step in reducing food waste.
With this simple task you can see the trends of what you are consistently throwing away and adjust your shopping/storing accordingly.
For example, if you never go through a full gallon of milk, consider buying a smaller jug. Or if you find yourself throwing away fruits every week immediately wash and freeze half of your fruit when you get home from the store.
This will allow you to reduce your waste and get the most out of your grocery bill.
You’ll also find out foods that you should stop buying. If you have a buildup of frozen fruit in the freezer don’t buy more. Knowing your inventory of your fridge and freezer will go a long way to save you money from buying food you already have.
13. Use Resealable Bags
They may not be good for the environment but spending the money on some resealable bags will allow your food to last for much longer than ever before.
You can create snack bags with cut up produce or some dried nut mixtures that will allow you to actually enjoy the food you buy while at work.
As a bonus, this will not only keep you full and happy while at work and avoid you spending money on a muffin or candy bar but it will also be a great way to speed up your morning routines with a quick grab bag.
These bags are for far more than just snacks. You can use them to ration and freeze foods that you want to stay fresh as well.
14. Immediately Prepare Foods After Shopping
Fruits, vegetables and nut mixtures make for some of the healthiest snacking. The only problem is that when you don’t initially prepare it you can easily forget to turn to it.
Do this for meat as well. Most people don’t realize that thawing and refreezing meat is not good and causes a buildup of bacteria.
If you buy meat that you plan on storing for long periods of time invest in some ziplocks. Portion your meat into individual meals.
Put each portion into a separate bag so that you can easily grab it and thaw only what you need for one meal. This will reduce the amount of leftovers you have and how much food will spoil by sitting in the fridge.
15. Reorganize your fridge
This trick often gets overlooked. If you can’t find things in your fridge chances are you aren’t going to eat it. By reorganizing your fridge so you can see and have access to everything you’ll throw away less at the end of the week.
Make leftovers easily accessible as they will go bad the quickest. Put bulky items like milk on the own shelf, or at the back of the fridge.
If you routinely get the same item make sure the old one is in the front using a first in first out motto. This will make you use it up before you open another package.
Pro Tip: Don’t put milk or eggs in the door. The fluctuating temperatures can cause it to go bad quicker than on a shelf.
Are you using your crisper properly? If you have fruit and vegetables in the same drawer you aren’t. Certain foods need to stay at a certain humidity.
Mixing them can cause them to spoil quicker. You can adjust the climate in your produce drawers to ensure that your food is staying fresh for longer.
Catch your food from spoiling. If you notice say an apple going bad take it out of your fridge right away. One item that goes bad can cause everything around it to spoil more quickly quickly.
This is especially true for strawberries and other foods as well. Pre prepping food will ensure that it stays fresh as well.
Space the food in your fridge out. If there is an overstocked section it can cause it to heat up. Fridges work best when air can freely circulate throughout the fridge.
When there is a bunch of items together it can stop the airflow increasing the temperature.
Keep your fridge clean! This may seem redundant but a dirty fridge can actually make food go bad quicker.
16. Start a Compost
For the food that you can’t do anything about, don’t worry. You can still reuse it by making a compost. Set aside a corner of your backyard and make a box out of unused pallets.
Simply put all of the extra food that has gone bad into the compost. You can even do this with your children and teach them about how the Earth reuses items every day.
While this is still technically waste, reusing the item keeps it out of landfills which is a huge feat.
17. Donate Scraps To Farms
If you find yourself with consistent scraps and live near a farming area, feel free to donate your scraps. This is especially true if you don’t have a compost run by yourself either.
Farmers will most often happily accept food scraps to add to their compost. Not only this, but your fruits and veggies that are only slightly bad will likely be used for feeding pigs and in other useful ways in farms.
This way your food doesn’t go to waste and you are actively helping local farmers in your community.
There are many ways to minimize how much gets wasted in your household. By following these tips and tricks you’ll become a pro at using every piece of food you purchase from the grocery store.
The food you buy should be the food you eat and sometimes all you need to do is a little planning to make the most out of your grocery visit.
With the help of a deep freezer, correct storing and some monitoring you’ll be making the most out of your groceries in no time.
Did we miss any of the best ways you avoid wasting food in your home? Let us know about them in the comment section below.