Food waste is a huge problem in American kitchens, and a major cost to your food budget. Did you know that over time our landfills generate methane, a greenhouse gas that is very harmful for all living beings on Earth. Methane is twenty three times more poisonous than carbon dioxide (CO2). It generates an enormous amount of heat, leading to global warming. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children to decrease food waste so that they grow up to be responsible citizens. I know it can seem time consuming but with a few steps you can reduce your food waste.
How to reduce food waste in your home?
Typically people waste food because of excess buying, improper storing of food, and cooking excess food without thinking of how to use the leftovers. Food waste can be minimized by reducing spending through planned shopping. You can also check out recipes to make the best use of leftovers, and you can donate food to people in need. Making the best use of food will also help you in saving money, increasing your overall food budget.
The first tip is pretty obvious: Buy less stuff. Sometimes we get a little carried away when we go grocery shopping and buy 2 for 1 and haul the monster size-pack of cheese with us home that no normal family will ever be able to eat their way through. So just buy what you need for the next few days and don’t shop as if you are preparing for the end of the world. Sometimes it helps to lower food costs if you shop bi weekly instead of once a week.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach. When I go shopping just before dinner, I always end up buying a lot more food than I need. So make sure to at least have a little snack before going grocery shopping to prevent throwing food out that you never eat later on.
Bring a grocery list
A list when you go grocery shopping is super important to saving money. If you go out without a list you are mindlessly shopping, and will buy things that will go to waste. I have a list in the kitchen that I add on to as I run low or run out of certain items. Some people prefer to have a list on their smartphone, which is great because you are less likely to forget your phone. With a list in hand at the store you are prepared and can spend your time in the store much more efficiently.
Even though I Shop at the grocery store biweekly week, I shop the fruit and vegetable market once a week. Yes, it
does make for more shopping trips, but this way nothing gets wasted and the kids always have fresh healthy fruit in the house to eat. We are lucky that we live just a few minutes away from the veggie market and the grocery store, so it is easy for me to drop by a couple of times a week. I also visit the farmer’s market whenever possible.
Tips to avoid throwing food out
Use clear storage containers to store your leftovers, so you can easily see what is inside your fridge. I use glass containers instead of plastic, so I don’t have to worry about putting hot leftovers in them or if I want to reheat the food in the container.
I label everything that I put in the freezer. This way I avoid a mystery dinner or eventually throwing frozen food out because it has been left in a corner of the freezer because I had no idea what is was.
Don’t get rid of bananas with brown spots – just throw them in the freezer and use them in smoothies later on or make banana break, a great breakfast favorite for kids.
Make tasty stir fries with that chicken breast from last night. Just chop it up and add it to the pan with some chopped vegetables and soy sauce. Quick, easy and so good., you shouldn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.
Freeze fresh ginger and chilies. Did you even know they could be frozen? Well now you do! Fresh ginger and chilies dry pretty fast on a counter top and the ginger will turn into a hard piece of wood. Instead of letting them dry out, just freeze them and shred or chop what you need.
If celery stalks start to go soft, trim the end and put them in water – it may look
like an interesting bouquet of celery to some people, but they really do crisp up, so you can use them instead of throwing them out. I soak carrots that are starting to look a bit dull in water for a few hours as well and the result is amazing.
Use a juicer to juice your old produce and make a healthy drink full of vitamins. If you are not into juices, just make some delicious soups out of not-so-fresh vegetables and freeze them. They will make a great lunch when you don’t feel like cooking.
Don’t throw out your herbs. Either dry them or make annice pesto and freeze it. Just bash the herbs with a pestle and mortar, add some olive oil, shredded Parmesan, walnuts, pine nuts or almonds, salt to taste and then pour it in an ice cube tray and put it in the freeze.
Freeze your leftovers. When its summer, I am not very motivated to do much cooking and that’s when a piece of
leftover lasagna from the freezer is perfect. If you decide to go out for dinner instead of having leftovers, make sure to put it in the freezer, so it does not end up in the garbage bin the next day.
Reduce food waste in your home by composting
It would be silly to think that your family can avoid all food waste. The reality of it is if you have kids some food waste is bound to happen. We can at least reduce the amount of food we send to the landfills by composting. If you live in place where you have the space to compost, you will be able to turn organic material from your kitchen food waste bins into nutritious soil for your garden. A worm factory takes up hardly any space and is a great way to get rid of food scraps that would otherwise have ended in the garbage. Kitchen food waste bins come in different sizes to fit underneath your kitchen sink.
Even if you live in an apartment you can still compost with or without worms. Amazon caries many different composting bins made specifically for small places.