Recent studies have shown that Americans have wasted around $165 billion in food. That’s a TON of food! We’re bringing you 7 tips to stop wasting food and money. Food waste can be a big drain on your budget! You might not even notice how much money you are wasting by allowing food to go bad. These tips to stop wasting food and money will help teach you practical and easy ways to avoid those types of waste.
7 Tips to Stop Wasting Food and Money
Make a Meal Plan
If you have a meal plan, you know exactly what foods you will need for the week. Designate one day of the week to create and shop for your weekly meal plan. This will help you save money by cooking at home more often and it will help you stop wasting food by knowing exactly which items you will need on hand for the week.
Don’t Impulse Buy
When it comes to perishable foods, avoid the impulse buy. If you must purchase something because it is a fantastic deal or something you think will get used in the future, make sure it is something you can freeze for later use. Impulse buys at the grocery store can really end up wasting food and money. If you want to stop wasting food and money you need to stick to your shopping list! By simply avoiding these impulse purchases you won’t end up with something that gets pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. When you see a great deal, make sure it is something you can freeze. Meats, and many kinds of produce can be frozen for use at a later date.
Buy Multipurpose Foods
One of the easiest ways to stop wasting food and money is to make purchases that can be utilized in many ways. If you buy items, especially perishable items, that can multitask you will be more likely to use them up before they go bad! Bananas make a great snack but they also go great frozen in a smoothie! Push yourself to find new ways to use produce that you have on hand!
Donate Unused Items
Even items that have a long shelf life can end up going bad before you use them. One great way to stop wasting food and money is to find a place to donate food! You can really end up helping someone out in a big way by donating items that you won’t use by their expiration date. It’s never a great idea to donate expired items but if you find things that are about to go out of date in your pantry, donate them instead of throwing them out!
You can use a similar system to use up produce and perishable items by having friends over for dinner!
Cook the Correct Amount
Leftovers are the biggest way that food goes to waste. To stop wasting food and money you need to evaluate the amount of food that you are cooking. If you know that you won’t eat leftovers, make sure you only cook one portion (or the necessary portions for those eating a meal). When you are cooking for a large group, offer to send home leftovers if you know they will not be eaten in your house. Another way to make sure leftovers are used is to cook items early in the week that you can use in recipes all week long. For example a whole chicken can be utilized in salads, soups, and other meals throughout the week.
Store Perishable Items Correctly
Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to store most perishable foods. You might be wasting food and money just by storing these items incorrectly. This link is a great resource for learning how to properly store perishable items. You can save money and food from going bad by storing it correctly and at the correct temperature! Different kinds of containers can impact the life of perishable foods too!
Meal & Food Prep
Meal planning has become quite popular lately, along with that comes some meal prep. If you prep foods ahead of time they are more likely to be used in a timely manner. Did you know that you can prep foods before use and freeze what you don’t need? This is a great way to make sure that healthy and whole foods are more accessible in your daily diet. If you cut and peel certain food items, they are easier to eat. It’s human nature to reach for things that are convenient. You can stop wasting food and money AND eat a bit more healthy and whole foods by doing some simple meal prep.