There is something about wasting food that drives me bonkers.
It’s such a waste of money, and a waste of time, and… well… think about all the starving people in the world!
It just feels so wrong for me, with all my privilege, to throw away food because I was lazy, or stupid, or thoughtless.
Of course I am far from perfect, and reducing food waste is something our family is still working on, but if we are aware and thinking about how to reduce food waste, that is at least a step in the right direction.
How to Reduce Food Waste.
Without going overboard and driving yourself crazy, here are some simple ways you can reduce food waste. You might not be able to manage everything on this list all the time, but the more you can do, the better it will be, and you’ll save money too!
Know what you have in your pantry – keep a list, make sure you note down anything that will expire soon so you can use it, and do a ‘pantry shop’ before you head to the supermarket.
Make a meal plan – Weekly, fortnightly or monthly, you don’t have to stick to it rigidly but a meal plan will help you use what you have, and even help you manage leftovers. You can find out how I meal plan for a month in half an hour here.
Make a shopping list – Now that you know what you have, and what you will cook, make a list, and be as precise as you can. You can find our free printable shopping list here.
Keep track of things – keep track of what you are buying, what you are using, and what you are throwing away for a month or two so you get a better idea of how much you really need to buy and cook.
Learn to make the right amount – it’s take me years to figure out how to cook the right amount of pasta for my family!
Make leftovers your friend – include plans for leftovers on your meal plan to make sure they get used in a timely manner. Buy a thermos and send leftovers to school for lunch!
Store food well – make sure you have the right containers to keep food fresh, that your fridge works properly and you know the best way to store each kind of food.
Love your freezer – So many foods can be frozen to use later it’s the easiest ways to preserve excess food. Freeze squishy bananas, chopped veggies, stewed fruit, leftovers and more.
Don’t freak out over ‘best before’ dates – Lots of food have a ‘best before’ date, but that doesn’t indicate the exact lifespan of the item. So if the item looks, smells and tastes ok it probably is. Find more info about expiration dates in Australia here.
Learn how to use ‘scraps’ – Whizzed up broccoli and cauliflower stalks are a great addition to meatballs or rissoles, bones make the best stock, celery leaves are really good in salads, and use stale bread to make bread crumbs.
Learn how to preserve food – Make jam, or tomato sauce, or pickles, or canned fruit.
Teach your kids – educating your kids about food waste is one the best ways to reduce it – no one wants a 7 year telling you off for throwing away food!
Sometimes you can’t avoid food waste but you can recycle it so at least it doesn’t become land fill. We feed most of our food scraps to our chickens, the rest goes in the compost!
And since reducing food waste has also saved us a bit of money, I’ve been trying to buy a few extra non-perishable items every time I shop and put them in the food bank donation box on my way out. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing :)
Have you got any great tips for reducing food waste?
Have you got a great idea for reducing food waste that I’ve missed? Leave a comment below and share your ideas for reducing food waste.