10 simple ways to reduce food waste
Food waste, whether it means food that gets lost, food that spoils because it’s not used, or that gets thrown in the trash while still good to eat, comes in many forms, even more reasons, and partial solutions.
Habits such as buying more food than necessary or leaving food in the refrigerator until it spoils contribute to the depletion of natural resources and harm the environment. Apart from additional expenses, this waste also translates into a waste of energy, water, soil, fertilizers and labor required to produce food that is never consumed.
To help reduce this phenomenon, we need to transform the way we consume and produce food. Through small individual actions, paying more attention to what you buy and small tricks in the kitchen we can have a big impact on reducing food waste.
We have prepared a list of some simple but effective ways to help you prevent food waste.
1. Don’t go shopping without a list prepared beforehand!
Buying only the food you need is one of the easiest ways to help reduce waste. Prepare a shopping list of the foods you need, not before checking the fridge, freezer and pantry. This will allow you to focus on only the things you actually need, reducing the likelihood of overbuying.
2. Plan a weekly menu!
A weekly menu planned in advance can help you organize your eating behavior, but also reduce waste. By doing this, you’ll be prepared when you go to the store and won’t buy compulsively. It’s also great because sometimes we have recipes we love and make them instead of other things. So meal planning can also help us learn what we like and make better shopping habits.
3. Watch out for 1+1 free promotions and low-priced food!
Especially when we talk about perishable food, promotions like 1+1 free or a larger quantity of products at a reduced price only contribute to food waste. No matter how attractive the offer, if the food ends up being thrown away, you still won’t save.
4. Always check the date on the package!
Don’t forget to check the date on the label when shopping. If you don’t plan to eat the food right away, choose to buy food with a later expiration date.
5. Buy odd/unusual shaped foods too!
Oddly shaped or damaged fruits and vegetables are often thrown away because their size, shape or colour does not meet the standards we are used to. But they taste the same and are just as nutritious. You can use overripe fruits for smoothies, juices, jams and desserts.
6. Keep and store food properly!
Store leftovers in airtight containers to protect them from drying out. Do not leave cooked food for long periods of time at room temperature. You can use it to write the contents and date on the container. This way, you will know exactly how long the products are still safe for consumption! Leftovers can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to four days after cooking. Don’t forget to let hot food cool down well before putting it in the fridge.
7. Turn expiring foods into new dishes!
Vegetables that don’t last long can be used as ingredients in wraps or turned into sauces or cream soups; Certain leftovers from dinner can be used the next day in sandwiches. You can turn the remaining bread into breadcrumbs or croutons.
8. Freeze leftovers instead of throwing them away!
You can choose to freeze a dish if you have cooked a larger quantity. Store it in the freezer in single servings so you have a few ready when you’re hungry and don’t want to cook. Do not forget to consume the dish within 24 hours of defrosting. If you are freezing a product that is not in its original packaging, put it in a closed container or freezer bag and write on a label the name of the product and the date of freezing. Pickling, drying, canning, fermenting and freezing are other methods you can use to make food last longer, thus reducing waste.
9. Try to reduce food waste even if you go to a restaurant!
A few simple actions can help you reduce food waste even if you go out to eat! Ask what the portion size is before you order your food! Check the ingredients of the products to make sure that the dish you ordered does not contain ingredients that you do not like. Last but not least, choose to take the uneaten food home. You can ask for your leftover food to be packed to eat later.
10. Be creative and cook based on the food you have!
Schedule a dinner every week, where you will use all the leftovers. Search the cupboards and fridge for leftovers and other foods that might otherwise be overlooked. Be creative and create recipes based on ingredients you already have. You’ll be surprised what goodies can come out! Take your uneaten food home At the restaurant, ask for all the leftover food to be packed for you to eat later. Few of us take home leftovers from restaurants, but this could become a wonderful habit!