Food waste. It’s a big problem all over the world but each one of us can help reduce it by starting small, simple changes at home that will also help save money and reduce the amount you spend at the grocery store. The following tips will show you how easy it is to make these changes that can really add up; your wallet and the planet will thank you!
1. Adopt a healthier, more sustainable diet
Life is fast-paced and preparing nutritious meals can be a challenge, but healthy meals don’t have to be elaborate. Try to buy fresh produce that is not already packaged and/or prepared as these items are often more expensive and produce more waste due to their packaging. The ONIE Project has many quick healthy recipes that you can make at home with simple ingredients in 30 minutes or less! 5 Easy Dinner Recipes, 10 Dinners on the Table in 30 Minutes or Less
2. Buy only what you need
Plan your meals. Make a shopping list and stick to it, and avoid impulse buys. Not only will you waste less food, but it can also save you money. Buying frozen fruit or vegetables can also help because you can use what you need and place the rest back in the freezer. ONIE is here to help with these links, just click to get started: 1 list, 5 recipes, Dinner on a Dime, Shopping on a Budget
3. Pick ugly fruit and vegetables
Don’t judge food by its appearance. Oddly-shaped or bruised fruits and vegetables are often thrown away because they aren’t visually appealing to some shoppers. Don’t worry, they taste the same and may be offered at a discount. You should also aim to select seasonally appropriate produce, these items will likely be priced lower and taste better.
4. Store food wisely
Move older products to the front of your cupboard or fridge and new ones to the back (otherwise known as First In First Out or FIFO). Use airtight containers to keep opened food fresh in the fridge and ensure packaging is secure to stop insects from getting in. Most foods can be frozen in one way or another and knowing how to properly store them is key. If proper freezing seems confusing check out this article for tips, The Art of Freezing
5. Understand food labeling
There’s a big difference between “best before” and “use-by” dates. Sometimes food is still safe to eat after the “best before” date, but the “use-by” date tells you when it is no longer safe to eat. Check food labels for unhealthy ingredients such as trans fats and preservatives and avoid foods with added sugar or salt. If you need more advice on reading food labels, ONIE has you covered Making Sense of Nutrition Labels.
6. Love your leftovers
If you don’t eat everything you make, freeze it for later or use the leftovers as an ingredient in another meal. ONIE has some great ideas for transforming those leftovers into completely new meals How to Revamp Your Leftovers – ONIE Project
7. Put your food waste to use
Instead of throwing away your food scraps, compost them. This way you are giving nutrients back to the soil and reducing your carbon footprint. Inedible and/or unused vegetable scraps can be used to make stock which you can freeze and use later.
8. Support local food producers
By buying local produce, you support family farmers and small businesses in your community. You also help fight pollution by reducing delivery distances for trucks and other vehicles. Check out ONIE’s Farmers Market Resources here Farmer’s Market or click the “Farmer’s Market” tab on the ONIE Project’s main page.
Little changes to our daily habits can add up in big ways that have global impact. You can take action and stop food loss and waste. It’s good for your budget and for the planet, which is a win-win for everyone. It’s up to us to change our habits to make not wasting food a way of life!