Over the last several weeks I’ve shared a lot of tips for saving money on real food. Today I want to talk about the most important way to save money on groceries, avoiding food waste.
I think we are all guilty of wasting food but I don’t think most of us know just how much we are wasting. It’s a huge problem around the world.
In the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted! That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person, per month! Not only does that waste contribute to pollution, it also is wasting us a lot of money.
Reducing my food waste is one of my big goals this year. There are some easy ways to help reduce your food waste, which will save you money as well!
Tips for Reducing Food Waste
- Label your food. I’m very guilty of putting leftovers in the fridge or opening a package but forgetting when I put it in there. I really don’t want food poisoning so when in doubt I throw food out but simply dating and labeling the food helps stop the doubt!
- Stock food smartly. When stocking your pantry or fridge, put the things that will go bad first in the front. We tend to use the things that are the easiest to reach first so this helps us to make sure things get used up.
- Freeze your food. A lot of things can be frozen to help them last longer. This is a topic I will be talking about more very soon but for now you can always Google to find out if something can be frozen.
- Get creative. If something is about to go back see if you can find a creative way to use it.
- Make smoothies. If you have produce that is maybe a bit past its prime but is still safe to eat, stick it in a smoothie. You can also freeze most produce to save for smoothies at a later time. Even greens and many veggies can go in smoothies, just follow the 60/40 rule, 60% fruit, 40% veggies (less if it has a strong favor).
- Meal plan. Meal planning can help you shop smarter and use up ingredients before they go bad. Click here for more meal planning tips.
- Check your food before shopping. Try to make as many meals as you can with what you already have on hand before getting more food. And make sure you aren’t overbuying ingredients because you forgot what you already had.
- Share with friends and family. Did you make too much of something? Or got a good deal but can’t use all of it before it goes bad? See if some friends or family would like to share.
- Save your citrus peels. Citrus peels are very useful! You can make candied citrus peels or even use them to clean your garbage disposal! You can find other great ways to use scraps on Pinterest.
- When all else fails, compost. When you do have something that goes bad or scraps you can’t use up, compost it (assuming it’s compostable!). The rich soil can help you grow your own food later or even if you don’t have a food garden it can be used in flower beds or shared with friends. I keep a nice looking stainless steel compost bin with a carbon filter under my sink making it very easy to compost. I just take it out weekly to my compost bin outside.
Photo adapted from- stevendepolo‘s photo via flickr