According to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s report an average American household is throwing away an equivalent of $2,275 per year. The causes of food wasting are complex, including grocery stores with abundancy in their displays that results in spoilage, as well as customers being served with large portions both at home and restaurants. Most people are just not aware of the proper ways to store food and possibly extend its shelf life. Wasted food doesn’t only mean wasted money of a store or a household; it also results in wasted natural resources, such as energy and water, transportation and food storage. If you are conscious about saving your own money and the planet too, take a look at some possible ways to stop wasting food.
1. Take time and make a shopping plan. Check your fridge and pantry to see what is about to expire, what exactly you need to buy and how much. Make a shopping list and never go to the store hungry, so that you can avoid grabbing stuff that you actually don’t need. Plan what you are going to eat during the week and prepare what you can in advance. Mind portioning; it is good both for your budget and waistline.
2. Store food properly in the fridge or freezer. Invest in some must-have kitchen appliances, such as a vacuum sealer. There are many ways to use it, as with its help foods are stored up to five times longer. All you need to do is just to portion meats, fish, fruits or vegetables, vacuum seal them, and place them in the fridge or freezer. You can store even leftover soups and stews, as well as foods with a longer shelf life, such as rice, spaghetti, cookies and chips, preserved from moist, mold and mites. Now you know that you can buy foods in bulk even if your family is small. A pressure cooker can help you to cook delicious meals in different ways with the products that have been on your shelves for a long time. Look through the food recipes to cook new meals from the groceries you store in your kitchen.
3. If you know that you are not going to eat that can of beans, consider donating it to food banks before it expires. They are always in need of canned soup, canned meats, cereal, peanut butter, etc. Contact your local food bank to help solve hunger in your community.
4. Label all the packages, zipper plastic bags and vacuum sealed bags with the date you close them on. Keep a chart on food expiration dates on your fridge so that you know when is the “deadline” for cooking and eating this or that product.
5. Consider new ways of using the produce. It doesn’t have to be thrown just because it’s reaching the end of its peak. Use bananas and soft fruit for smoothies, and vegetables for the soup. Or they can be used for making delicious, nutritious juices.
Probably you won’t eliminate food wasting completely, but you can make a big difference following these steps. Remember that by preserving food you preserve our planet’s precious resources as well as save on your budget.