Did you know that the average Canadian household wastes about $28 in groceries every week? Every week! You might as well just throw out an entire bag of groceries as soon as you get it home.
With the continually rising cost of food, food waste today is not only a drain on the planet’s resources, but it’s also a huge drain on your wallet. It may not seem like a big loss to toss that wilted head of lettuce, or a single portion of leftovers, but over time, food waste really does add up.
Let’s put an end to food waste so we can help save the planet and our bank accounts. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little extra cash each week?
Here are 6 practical ways to reduce food waste in your home and save money
- Meal plan - If you do nothing else on this list, DO THIS ONE. Hands down, meal planning is the best way to minimize waste and save money. Plan everything you will eat during the week, even snacks, then only buy what’s on your list. Here are a few tips for effective meal planning.
BONUS: Meal planning can also help you stick to any healthy eating goals you may have and saves a lot of time day to day.
- Plan for leftovers - Most leftovers only keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. If you’re making something that you know will produce leftovers, make a plan for them. Either eat them for lunch or dinner the next day, portion and freeze or turn them into a new meal. Don’t just put them in the fridge without a plan!
- Know the difference between “best before” and “use by” - “Best before” dates refer to quality - the taste and texture promised by the manufacturer - whereas “use by” refers to food safety.
It’s not a good idea to consume food after it’s use -by date, but foods past their best before date are usually perfectly safe to consume or use in recipes. So go ahead and eat that yoghurt, add it to a smoothie or bake it into muffins. Just don’t toss it!
- Use your freezer - Many foods can be frozen! If you have food approaching its use by date or that you know you will not use before it goes bad, freeze it for later use to prevent waste.
For example, eggs can be frozen either whole (though out of the shell) or separated into yolks and whites. Milk can be portioned out and frozen to use in recipes. Cheese can be grated and frozen. Meat and seafood can be quickly cooked then frozen to use later on. Fruit can be chopped and frozen for smoothies or as a yoghurt topping. Leftover veggies can be frozen to use later in soup. Even bread, baked goods, dry goods and nuts can be frozen!
- Invest in airtight containers - You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy containers. You can even save an airtight glass or plastic jars from other foods if you wash them very well first. As long as the container is airtight, it will help preserve the shelf life of many foods, preventing waste.
- Practice FIFO - FIFO is the “first in, first out” rule. The first thing you put into the fridge should be the first thing taken out. Don’t use newly purchased foods until older foods have been used up.
If you meal plan (which you really should), practice FIFO by planning meals around what you already have in the fridge or freezer before adding new items to your grocery list.
Food waste is a problem that affects us all. Even if you compost your excess or spoiled food, all the resources that went into producing and transporting it are wasted when the food is wasted. Every dollar you spent on that food is wasted as well.
Be a FoodHero. Reduce food waste!