Reducing food waste can be cost-effective and part of an eco-friendly lifestyle. It is an essential part of meal planning and should be considered when promoting healthy food choices. Follow below for some tips to help reduce food waste and stretch your food budget.
Prepare a grocery list. Choose at least 2-3 recipes that you plan to prepare for the week and make a shopping list based on those recipes.
Buy fresh and frozen. Fresh is always best but frozen lasts longer and can be crucial when there are big-time gaps between grocery shopping trips. They are often more cost-effective as well.
Defrost foods in a timely manner. Plan out your meals beforehand and only defrost foods that you plan to use within the next day or two. Once protein items are defrosted, they must be used within about 2 days.
Keep canned foods on hand. Canned foods are both cost-effective and convenient because they are shelf-stable. Canned beans and other canned veggies are still a great option – just rinse well to get rid of most of the sodium.
Organize your refrigerator. Keep older foods toward the front of the fridge so you eat them first, and conduct a regular inventory to check the expiration date on food items.
Be creative with leftovers. Repurpose old meals into new meals. For example, a piece of cooked chicken or fish can be added to a pasta dish, a stew, or even a sandwich to recreate new meals.
Practice portion control. Be mindful of portions and, if necessary, measure foods using cups and spoons to provide appropriate sizes that meet your nutrition needs.