A habit of buying more food than needed and not planning meals appropriately is one reason that people throw away perfectly edible food. People buy large quantities of food for many reasons, and after a few days when it begins to spoil they throw it into the garbage and then go out again and buy more food to consume. If they planned their meals creatively, they could eat the food instead of it ending up in the garbage. Here are some ways to reduce household food waste.
Take stock before you shop
Most experts know that the best way to stop the wastage of household food is to become a more knowledgeable grocery buyer. First review what you already have in stock so that you do not buy more of it. Go through your fridge, your freezer and you pantry so that you have a very clear idea of what you need and what you already have. This is a sure way to reduce household food waste.
Plan your meals
Now that you know what you have and what you don’t need, the next thing to do is to plan what you will be eating within the next week or before your next shopping trip. Planning your meals removes your tensions about what you and your family will be eating, and it helps you to shop properly and not buy things that will end up in the trash can. Before going to the store, make a list to avoid buying on sudden whims.
Be careful about expiration dates
Most people take for granted the fact that after the expiry date most things are not safe to eat. While it is wise to adhere to the expiry date on chicken and some dairy items, many other food items can be safely consumed even after the expiry date. The labels that tell you ‘best before this date’ merely indicate that the food loses its taste and nutritional value on so and so date.
Don’t feel that you have to buy in bulk
Large super market chains and grocery stores have been very successful in persuading clients that they are actually saving money by buying in larger quantities. This might not be exactly true, because if you have to throw away spoiled food you have actually lost money, not saved it by buying more than you will be able to use. So shopping wisely is an effective way of reducing household food waste.
Learn the art of pre-portioning
Most stores package all their goods in certain quantities that might be much more than what you need to cook at one time. If things come in a larger packing than what you will use for making a single meal, the best thing to do is to freeze it so that you can use it the next time and not have to go out and buy more. After shopping, take some time to make portions of the food that you will store in the fridge and what you can freeze for use at some other time.
Use more of your fruits and vegetables
Most of the food that ends up in the trash can consists of the less edible parts of vegetables and fruits such as plant stems and the skins of vegetables. These parts can be used in everyday cooking quite effectively. People usually cook only the top part of Broccoli, not realizing that the stems can also be cooked and consumed. This will actually reduce household food waste.
Think twice before tossing overripe fruits and vegetables
When we come across soft apples or shriveled carrots, we automatically consign them to the waste bin. Some foods may not taste as good as when first bought, or even contain essential nutrients. That does not mean that they should be wasted. These items can be used in the preparation of other foods. A good example is that a soggy banana can be used for banana bread.