Summary

Reduce Food Waste at Home with These Simple Tips

 Imagine you went to a nice restaurant and as soon as the waiter brought you your meal, you stood up and threw it in the trash. Sounds a little absurd doesn’t it? Well that is essentially what the average American is doing at home on a weekly, if not daily basis. 

Impact of Food Waste

On an individual level, Americans waste 1,500 calories worth of food per day even though 1 in 6 are food insecure. Food insecurity is defined by a lack of access to affordable and nutritious meals, which results in poor health that overall makes us a less happy and less productive society. 

With this statistic in mind, it’s not hard to see why a lot of people say that our food system is “broken.” The 130 billion meals worth of food we waste per year amounts to roughly 2% of the U.S. GDP, even though 57% of food waste is still perfectly good to eat! 

It is easy to be skeptical when someone tells you that every little bit helps, but it really, truly does. While food waste is a nationwide (not to mention worldwide) issue, changing food waste habits at home is a big step we can take towards fixing the food system.

Read on for some simple tips that can reduce your food waste!

When Buying Groceries…

While this article focuses on ways to reduce food waste at home, the first place you can change your habits is at the grocery store. 

Do You Really Need It?

You’ve opened up your fridge to discover it’s empty — time for a trip to the grocery store! Or is it? Shop your freezer and pantry first for frozen vegetables, grains, and other meal staples that may be out of sight and out of mind. 

Make a List, Check It Twice 

Once you have a better idea of what you have at home, you can start making a shopping list. While it usually comes in the form of a scrap piece of paper with illegible script hastily jotted down, don’t underestimate this shopping list’s potential. 

Don’t just write down ingredients, but quantities as well to make meal prep easier and waste-free. Sticking to your list is a good way to avoid unnecessary purchases, especially when you hit the “deal” section that has stuff a lot of us don’t really need to begin with. 

Buy Imperfect Produce

When it comes to the fresh produce aisle, don’t shy away from odd-looking items. An imperfect orange is still going to taste like an orange. Imperfect produce is most likely to be thrown away by households and by consumer-facing businesses like restaurants and grocery stores rather than by farms. By opting for the ugly duckling, you can help shift the general attitudes toward produce waste. 

Always Check the Label 

Before you buy, keep the sell-by-date and use-by-date in mind. While produce stays fresher longer than the label indicates, make sure the ingredients you are planning to use for a meal later in the week will still be usable by that time. 

That being said, you’re generally safe to go by your own judgement rather than by the sell-by and use-by labels when it comes to determining whether your food is still good to eat. A common cause of at-home food waste comes from our tendency to throw out food that is still edible. In fact, federal law does not require food dating (with the exception of baby formula) and states that a correctly stored food product is usually perfectly good to eat past the use-by-date.  

Tips for the Home

Storage

Most meat and dairy products require refrigeration while dry foods and tinned items will be perfectly happy in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. By storing produce correctly, you can avoid unnecessary waste.

When it comes to extending shelf life, the freezer is your friend. For bulk items like a loaf of bread, putting half in the freezer avoids that sad moment when you want to make a sandwich, but the loaf has turned a little furry with mold. Plus, most toasters have a defrost mode, so you won’t have to wait for it to thaw. 

Meal Prep

Planning your meals is a great way to avoid buying (and wasting) food, and it can ultimately save you both time and money. 

Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Cook the most perishable items first
  • Use a portion calculator to make sure your quantities are evenly spread out
  • Freeze bulk meals in portions using a muffin tin or airtight containers — these will last and are perfect for a lazy night when you don’t want to cook
  • Plan a second meal around leftovers — Monday’s side of vegetables can easily become Tuesday’s taco filling. It’s fun to get creative in the kitchen!

While meal prep can save you both time and money, not everyone has the bandwidth to do all the shopping, prepping, and cooking themselves. 

If you are one of those people (which is most of us these days!), another great alternative is getting healthy, prepared meals delivered to your door. With portions already measured out, you don’t need to worry about food waste – just make sure to finish your plate! � 

Composting

These tips and tricks are a sure-fire way to cut down your food wastage. However, if you still end up with food to throw out, you can give your scraps a new lease on life through composting rather than condemning them to the landfill. 

Composting is the breakdown of recyclable food scraps into fertilizer. Investing in a compost bin is good for the environment and is a free, simple way to enrich your flower beds with nutrients.

If you don’t have outdoor space, check if your town has a regular pick-up service for your compost. 

You can also donate food scraps to certain farms, so why don’t make a day of it and go for a nice trip to the countryside! 

Final Thoughts

Sharing these tips with friends and family will encourage a community of food-waste warriors. Together we can make a big difference to the food system from the comfort of our own homes

Sources
Each Person in America Wastes over 1,500 Calories Worth of Food | Newsweek

Why Food? | Farmlink

The state of food insecurity | FAO

Food Waste Challenge | ReFed

Food Product Dating | Food Safety and Inspection Service

Save The Food | Storage

The Art of Freezing | Storage

Save the Food | Guestimator

Composting At Home | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Compost Pickup Services | Compost Now

Reduce Wasted Food by Feeding Animals | EPA


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jul 2, 2021
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.
Summary

Reduce Food Waste at Home with These Simple Tips

 Imagine you went to a nice restaurant and as soon as the waiter brought you your meal, you stood up and threw it in the trash. Sounds a little absurd doesn’t it? Well that is essentially what the average American is doing at home on a weekly, if not daily basis. 

Impact of Food Waste

On an individual level, Americans waste 1,500 calories worth of food per day even though 1 in 6 are food insecure. Food insecurity is defined by a lack of access to affordable and nutritious meals, which results in poor health that overall makes us a less happy and less productive society. 

With this statistic in mind, it’s not hard to see why a lot of people say that our food system is “broken.” The 130 billion meals worth of food we waste per year amounts to roughly 2% of the U.S. GDP, even though 57% of food waste is still perfectly good to eat! 

It is easy to be skeptical when someone tells you that every little bit helps, but it really, truly does. While food waste is a nationwide (not to mention worldwide) issue, changing food waste habits at home is a big step we can take towards fixing the food system.

Read on for some simple tips that can reduce your food waste!

When Buying Groceries…

While this article focuses on ways to reduce food waste at home, the first place you can change your habits is at the grocery store. 

Do You Really Need It?

You’ve opened up your fridge to discover it’s empty — time for a trip to the grocery store! Or is it? Shop your freezer and pantry first for frozen vegetables, grains, and other meal staples that may be out of sight and out of mind. 

Make a List, Check It Twice 

Once you have a better idea of what you have at home, you can start making a shopping list. While it usually comes in the form of a scrap piece of paper with illegible script hastily jotted down, don’t underestimate this shopping list’s potential. 

Don’t just write down ingredients, but quantities as well to make meal prep easier and waste-free. Sticking to your list is a good way to avoid unnecessary purchases, especially when you hit the “deal” section that has stuff a lot of us don’t really need to begin with. 

Buy Imperfect Produce

When it comes to the fresh produce aisle, don’t shy away from odd-looking items. An imperfect orange is still going to taste like an orange. Imperfect produce is most likely to be thrown away by households and by consumer-facing businesses like restaurants and grocery stores rather than by farms. By opting for the ugly duckling, you can help shift the general attitudes toward produce waste. 

Always Check the Label 

Before you buy, keep the sell-by-date and use-by-date in mind. While produce stays fresher longer than the label indicates, make sure the ingredients you are planning to use for a meal later in the week will still be usable by that time. 

That being said, you’re generally safe to go by your own judgement rather than by the sell-by and use-by labels when it comes to determining whether your food is still good to eat. A common cause of at-home food waste comes from our tendency to throw out food that is still edible. In fact, federal law does not require food dating (with the exception of baby formula) and states that a correctly stored food product is usually perfectly good to eat past the use-by-date.  

Tips for the Home

Storage

Most meat and dairy products require refrigeration while dry foods and tinned items will be perfectly happy in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. By storing produce correctly, you can avoid unnecessary waste.

When it comes to extending shelf life, the freezer is your friend. For bulk items like a loaf of bread, putting half in the freezer avoids that sad moment when you want to make a sandwich, but the loaf has turned a little furry with mold. Plus, most toasters have a defrost mode, so you won’t have to wait for it to thaw. 

Meal Prep

Planning your meals is a great way to avoid buying (and wasting) food, and it can ultimately save you both time and money. 

Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Cook the most perishable items first
  • Use a portion calculator to make sure your quantities are evenly spread out
  • Freeze bulk meals in portions using a muffin tin or airtight containers — these will last and are perfect for a lazy night when you don’t want to cook
  • Plan a second meal around leftovers — Monday’s side of vegetables can easily become Tuesday’s taco filling. It’s fun to get creative in the kitchen!

While meal prep can save you both time and money, not everyone has the bandwidth to do all the shopping, prepping, and cooking themselves. 

If you are one of those people (which is most of us these days!), another great alternative is getting healthy, prepared meals delivered to your door. With portions already measured out, you don’t need to worry about food waste – just make sure to finish your plate! � 

Composting

These tips and tricks are a sure-fire way to cut down your food wastage. However, if you still end up with food to throw out, you can give your scraps a new lease on life through composting rather than condemning them to the landfill. 

Composting is the breakdown of recyclable food scraps into fertilizer. Investing in a compost bin is good for the environment and is a free, simple way to enrich your flower beds with nutrients.

If you don’t have outdoor space, check if your town has a regular pick-up service for your compost. 

You can also donate food scraps to certain farms, so why don’t make a day of it and go for a nice trip to the countryside! 

Final Thoughts

Sharing these tips with friends and family will encourage a community of food-waste warriors. Together we can make a big difference to the food system from the comfort of our own homes

Sources
Each Person in America Wastes over 1,500 Calories Worth of Food | Newsweek

Why Food? | Farmlink

The state of food insecurity | FAO

Food Waste Challenge | ReFed

Food Product Dating | Food Safety and Inspection Service

Save The Food | Storage

The Art of Freezing | Storage

Save the Food | Guestimator

Composting At Home | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Compost Pickup Services | Compost Now

Reduce Wasted Food by Feeding Animals | EPA


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jul 2, 2021
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.