Food waste is a serious issue in many American households. According to the Society of St. Andrew, 31% of food sold at the consumer level eventually gets thrown away without getting eaten. Although it’s obvious you don’t want to hang onto food that’s going to make you sick, that’s not why we toss out food most of the time. Usually, we’re just not in the mood for it, we don’t like how it looks, or we need space.
Ending food waste can help us accomplish many goals as a society. If we donate food that we’re not going to use, that food can go to help those who are homeless or unable to purchase food for their family.
This is a huge benefit when 14% of American households have difficulty feeding their families. In addition, keeping food out of landfills is good for the environment and minimizes processing costs for food waste. Want to do your part in stopping food waste? Use these tips to make the most of every type of food you buy.
And did I mention it could help your grocery budget significantly?
Use unattractive food in dishes that hide them
Be honest—how many times have you ditched a sprouting potato or put back strawberries that look a little too ripe for your liking? You don’t need picture-perfect food, no matter what the produce industry may tell you.
If a piece of food isn’t pretty enough for you, dice it up and use it in another way. If your carrots are a little brown or your apples are oddly-shaped, dice them up and toss them into a soup, stew, casserole, or crumble. You can get all of that delicious flavor and save your food from the trash bin.
Re-purpose food scraps
Many people have a bad habit of using some of what they buy and tossing the rest. However, using everything you buy can help you get extra meals out of your scraps. When you chop vegetables for a dish, save the scraps and peels. Save them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Next time you make soup, use the scraps to make stock.
If you have meat scraps and bits left over from a roast or another main dish, use them to make a whole new dinner the next night. You can often shred meat to make tacos, grind it and make patties, or stir it into soup.
Keep an eye on your food and catch it before it gets bad
Staying aware of your food situation is the best thing you can do to stop wasting food. It’s common to buy something at the grocery store and find that you already have one in the refrigerator when you get home. Keep an updated pantry list and check your shopping list against it before you spend money on food.
With produce, you can save money by checking on your food periodically. When it starts to get a little iffy, you can roast it, puree it, or freeze it to get a little more time out of your food. Making your food last is good for the environment and your wallet. Use these food re-purposing tips and see how your budget changes!